With Michael Kaulkner
The biggest mover of the week was Culver Holdings, which saw its stock jump over 40% in price, after the troubled Welsh broker sold its retail arm to Protectagroup, a subsidiary of acquisition vehicle CCV.
Culver’s shares have been falling since last year, losing 80% of their value. Last month, the company reported pre-tax losses for 2007 of more than £600,000 and warned of further pain in 2008.
The company has been struggling with its business model, refocusing as a specialist broker and spending money on restructuring and its own acquisitions.
Culver chairman Richard Read said: “The sale will also refresh the group's balance sheet at a time when the continuing, developing businesses are still absorbing cash.”
As Insurance Times went to press, Culver’s shares were trading at 210p, up over 44% on the previous week.
Highway’s shares enjoyed a bounce this week. The motor specialist’s shares have been tumbling since the beginning of the year, losing over a third of their value.
In May it warned of tough trading conditions this year and said earning were likely to disappoint, prompting a sharp decline in its stock price. Shareholders have been concerned about a possible cut in the dividend.
Highway’s shares were trading at 50.75p up nearly 7% for the week, as Insurance Times went to press.
In contrast fellow motor specialist Admiral’s stock has fared slightly better on the market. While its share price took a battering in May, an optimistic trading statement in April projecting record profits for the year, gave it a welcome boost.
Admiral stock has since been trading between around 850p and 900p, although well down on its 52-week high of over 1132p.
As Insurance Times went to press Admiral’s shares were trading at 858p.
The City had a rather muted response to Jardine Lloyd Thompson’s (JLT) acquisition of Lloyd’s broking group HWS this week. JLT said the deal would expand both its non-marine treaty operation and its UK wholesale business. Despite a busy week’s trading, JLT shares were down nearly 1% for the week, trading at 387p as Insurance Times went to press.