The figuresOperating profit dipped 6.4 per cent from £642.8m in the 12 months to the end of 2017 to £601.7m last year. The firm declared a special dividend of 8.3p, marking a 44 per cent drop from 15p a share declared last year. As a result, total dividends fell to 29.3 pence per share for the year, down from 35.4 pence per share. However, pre-tax profits hit £582m in 2018, rising 8.1 per cent on the year before, with the group saying that the decrease in operating profit was “more than offset by the non-repeat of finance costs in relation to the debt repurchased in 2017”. The board also announced a final dividend of 14p, marking a 2.9 per cent rise on the year before.
Direct Line also reiterated its target for 2019 and over the medium term of achieving a combined operating ratio of between 93 per cent and 95 per cent.