Company reduces syndicate capacity in wake of soft market.

Lloyd's underwriter Canopius has announced record 2007 profits of £33m, up over a quarter on the previous year.

The company's gross written premiums increased 89 per cent to £455m. Net earned premium stood £296m - up 69 per cent year on year.

In a statement the company said the 2008 capacity for its syndicate, S4444 had been reduced from £450m to £410m in recognition of deteriorating market conditions. Last year, increased its capacity by 50 per cent. In the first four months of the year, S4444 wrote 56 per cent of its business plan for the year, with its aggregate rates falling by 1.8 per cent.

Canopius said it had delivered strong growth in its Global Property and North American Facilities businesses.

It added that the performance of start-up underwriting agency, Arista, was positive, having written £11m in premium so far in 2008, compared with £13m for the whole of 2007.

The company also announced it had secured a further £60m in investment from majority shareholder, Englefield. Financial resources, comprising equity capital, long term debt and unsecured letter of credit facilities now stand at above £300m, up from £25m in December 2003.

Canopius chairman Michael Watson said: “2007 was a tremendous year for Canopius, and 2008 has started well. We have already written over half our business plan for 2008 with an aggregate rate reduction of less than 2% and we have avoided a majority of the significant market losses which occurred in the early part of the year.

"Our strong capital base, with group financial resources of £300m, puts us in an excellent position to develop the business both organically and through the acquisition of well priced assets.”