Alison Hill, Chief Executive Officer of the Argus Group *Photo supplied
Alison Hill, Chief Executive Officer of the Argus Group *Photo supplied

Argus Group Holdings Limited today announced a net profit of $1.6 million for the six months ended September 30, 2013, compared to a net profit of $7.1 million for the corresponding period in 2012.

Alison Hill, Chief Executive Officer of the Argus Group, comments: “Although modest, this profit is supported by strong performance from our core business operations of $7.5 million as a result of achieving high client retention levels in a competitive environment and managing operating expenses.  

“The recent uncertainty in fixed income investment markets worldwide resulted in the Group incurring unrealised investment losses. The losses are regarded by management as a short-term setback to the otherwise positive development of Group Net Earnings.

“The efforts towards Balance Sheet strengthening, including investment restructuring activities, continue to focus upon the longer term by closely matching the Group’s liabilities with appropriate assets in a considered and orderly fashion.

 “The leadership team is focused on delivering excellent products and services to our customers, on delivering long-term sustainable value to our shareholders and delivering on our commitment to the community.”

On the Consolidated Balance Sheet, Total Assets remained steady at $1.9 billion. Shareholders’ equity attributable to shareholders of the company has increased to $96.1 million, substantially in excess of the statutory capital required to conduct the Group’s insurance and financial services businesses by the regulatory bodies to whom the Argus Group reports.

Net premiums earned in the period fell by 7 per cent compared with the year prior reflecting the lingering recession in Bermuda as clients continue to seek ways in which to reduce costs.

Net benefits and claims decreased by 18 per cent primarily due to lower than anticipated claims both locally and overseas, and were enhanced by the absence of major windstorms or other catastrophic events in the property and casualty businesses of the Group.

In the six months under review, the Group reported an Investment loss of $3.2 million due mainly to unrealised losses emanating from its fixed income portfolios.

Commissions, management fees and other increased in the period due to increased ceding commissions earned by our property and casualty operations and improved fees arising from its investment-related businesses.

Operating expenses decreased by 4 per cent as certain cost containment measures implemented recently by management took effect.

The Board has declared a dividend of six cents per share payable on February 28, 2014 for shareholders of record on January 15, 2014. This represents a final dividend based upon the audited financial statements of the Group for the year ended March 31, 2013.