Mark Cloutier revels in insurer’s first-half performance

Brit chief executive Mark Cloutier said he would have liked a better reception from the stock market when Brit floated in late March.

The Lloyd’s insurer’s initial public offering (IPO) price was 240p a share on 28 March, but the company had consistently traded below that level until 28 May. It is currently trading at 250p a share.

Speaking to Insurance Times following the release of Brit’s first half 2014 results, Cloutier said: “I think it is fair to say that I would have appreciated a warmer welcome than we got.

“[The stock price] went down clearly because of factors not attributable to us, because we couldn’t talk to anybody at that stage.”

Since Brit has been able to speak to analysts and investors, and report its first-quarter 2014 interim management statement, the market has warmed to the company.

Cloutier said: “The stock has started to behave as we expected it to. If you look at our price performance since the end of June, we are almost at the top of the market in terms of overall price performance.”

Brit reported a profit before tax of £61.5m in the first half of 2014, down 18% on the £75.4m it made in the same period last year.

But the profit was hit by one-off IPO costs of £13.8m and foreign exchange losses of £20.7m. Without these headwinds, Brit would have reported a 71% increase in pre-tax profit to £96m.

The company also reported a 25% return on net tangible assets of 25% and a 2.1% return on invested assets.

Cloutier declared himself pleased with the result, saying: “Let’s just say I have a bit of a spring in my step this morning.”

Cloutier expects the remainder of the year to be less eventful as Brit beds down the work if has done to grow the business, which includes buying the renewal rights to QBE’s Lloyd’s aviation business in June.

Brit’s first-half gross written premium increased by 4.5% to £701.2m.

Cloutier said: “I want to make sure that what we have done is working well.”