Shareholders who jumped on board the good ship Admiral before and after its IPO are dancing a merry hornpipe this week. The motor insurer, owned and led by Henry Engelhardt, paid a dividend of 6.2p which was double the interim 3.1p paid at the float. Not only were the shareholders rewarded, but the 700 staff shared a £16m windfall off the back of its £100.6m profit.
Analysts had been unkind to Engelhardt's plans before the flotation, with Questor actively discouraging investors and telling the market to avoid the listing. But Engelhardt has taken a leaf out of his old boss Martin Long's City and staff handbook. The Churchill founder confounded his critics in the City and incentivised staff in the same way. Admiral's performance shows that even in a softening cycle, sticking to a plan works. Total premium written rose 27% to £470m, with its policies at year-end growing from 778,000 to 1,008,000, giving Admiral's a 4% share of the UK private car market.