New Lloyd’s syndicate

Chaucer will manage a new syndicate, Antares, on behalf of Lightyear Capital, a New York private equity firm, and a German insurer. Antares Syndicate 1274 will begin writing speciality business for the 2008 year of account with a capacity of £135m.

Benfield bid ruled out

A current friendly bid for Benfield Group was ruled out after a senior executive at the broker, Robert Bredahl, sold nearly £800,000 of shares this week. He sold his entire shareholding of 260,419 shares at 305.25p, according to a stock exchange announcement. The sale meant that a friendly bid for the company was not currently taking place. Last week, it was reported that Goldman Sachs’s talks with Benfield over a £700m bid had broken down.

Smat & Cook profit surge

Smart & Cook announced operating profits [before goodwill] of £8.22m for the year ended April 2007, an increase of 107% on the previous year. Revenues were up by 41% from £26.98m to £38.15m. Pre-tax profits stood at £4.16m, up from £1.14m last year.