ICP plans to float

THB Group rallied on Tuesday morning as the company reported a 47% increase in full-year profits before tax to £3.3m, up from £2.2 million in 2005.

The stock, which has been caught between 85p and £1 for over four months, surged over 3% to 92.60p.

Meanwhile, Aim-listed Broker Network paused to consolidate after its relentless run up in July. The company recently acquired Towry Law Insurance Brokers - its largest acquisition to date. The shares, which were trading at 133p at the end of May, are now at 200p.

Despite downwards pressure throughout May and June, Benfield has found strong support for its shares at 340p. The broker, which is often surrounded by merger speculation, has climbed over 4% since the start of the week. In early trading it was ten points higher at 368p.

Lloyd's investment fund, Insurance Capital Partners (ICP) revealed plans to float on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market (Aim) later this month.

The investment vehicle is headed up by market big guns Charles Harbord-Hamond, current chief executive of CBS, Lord Lang of Monkton, current director of Marsh & McLennan, and John Stace, the former vice-chairman of Amlin and deputy chairman of Lloyd's.

The trio will bid to raise £100m, at 100p a share, as the fund looks to access both quoted and unquoted underwriting business at Lloyd's.

If the demand for capital is right, ICP is likely to put between £350m and £400m into the market over the next 12 months, as a result of a 40% ratio of capital to premium income requirement.