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ABF – Sugar And Primark Lead The Success

Associated British Foods ABF reports another highly successful year with a rise of 51% in profit before tax and 47% in earnings per share, including profits resulting from the sale of businesses. Without that bonus  and after growth of 6% in revenue for the year to the 16th September, the adjusted rises in profit before tax and earnings per share still came in at a very respectable 22% and 20% respectively. Sugar profits recovered strongly over the year and Primark still has potential for growth, having opened a net 30 stores and 1.5m sq. ft. of selling space across nine countries. The final dividend has been increased to 29.65p. per share making a total increase for the year of 12%.

Direct Line Ins.Grp. DLG has seen the good momentum in the first half continue into quarter 3 with Motor, Commercial and Rescue businesses all trading well. Motor premiums rose by 7.1% and own brand policies were up by 5.5%. Total premiums, despite a fall of 3.9% in Home, increased by 2.8% led by own brands which were up by 8.3%. Claims experience in Home has seen an improvement in the high inflation rate previously affecting escape of water claims (presumably that means flooding to you and me).

Imperial Brands plc IMB Preliminary results for the year to 30th September saw tobacco volume falling further by 4.1% and net revenue down by 2.4%, despite which the company claims it was an important year of progress with dividends per share rising by 10%. Total adjusted operating profit and earnings per share declined by 3.2% and 2.2% respectively but on a reported basis, revenue was up by 9.5% and operating profit by 2.2%. Gains in market share have been achieved in what the company regards, as its priority markets.

Hiscox Ltd. HSX Gross written premiums for the 9 month to the 30th September grew by 12.4% in sterling or 4.9% at constant currency rates. Claims for major hurricane catastrophes will now be less than originally feared when it was expected that claims for Harvey & Irma alone would come to US$225m. whereas current estimates are that the same figure will now also cover claims for hurricane Maria as well.

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