Purchase of medical practices adds to Argus success
Argus Group Holdings Limited has declared earnings of $8.1 million for the six months to September 30, as shareholders’ equity grew $7.8 million to stand at $157.5 million.
The company said the solid results were because of good underlying performance across all main lines of business. Continuing market-driven volatility in the annuity business continues to be a drag on reported income, although the long-term margins remain attractive.
There was derived benefit from one-time gains related to the successful disposal of the private placement life business in July.
Key performance metrics have remained strong, including the group‘s average combined ratio for the health and general insurance businesses at a healthy 78 per cent which compares well with the three-year average of 79 per cent.
Claims activity across core insurance businesses began returning to more normal levels during the first six months of the fiscal year after the unusually low levels experienced in the first half of 2020.
Combined fee income was up $5.6 million (nearly 30 per cent) to $22.3 million.
Significant contributions to the fee income growth were the acquisitions of medical practices in Bermuda and the continued growth of Antes, the group’s insurance brokerage in Malta.
Book value per share stood at $7.26 as of September 30, compared with $6.94 as at March 31. Also up was the share price, from $4.56 to $6.00.
Based on the group’s financial strength and strong performance, Argus has declared a dividend of ten cents per share for shareholders of record as of December 31, 2021, payable on January 28, 2022.
Group CEO Alison Hill said: “The first six months of our fiscal year saw the world start to emerge from Covid-19 lockdown.”
“Malta and Gibraltar saw excellent economic recovery largely driven by high vaccination rates and a bounce-back of tourism and business travel.
“Bermuda’s economic recovery remains somewhat muted as the island experiences periodic spikes in infections while continuing to encourage first and second vaccination shots and implementing the booster programme.”
“Since the onset of the pandemic, businesses around the world have had to revise their operating models.
“At Argus, while we have adapted, we have remained true to our brand. We are a good corporate citizen, a well-run organisation with a strong balance sheet.
“We believe in putting people at the heart of our decisions and we will always do the right thing.”
“It’s heartening to see the ongoing recognition of Argus’ value by the markets from the improvements in our share price.
“Despite the economic uncertainties that we may face in the remainder of the year, I have confidence that we will be able to navigate and grow value for our shareholders.”