by Angelique Ruzicka

Hardy has become the latest Lloyd’s insurer to launch a rights issue. The Bermuda-based specialist plans to raise £40.3m and is being advised by Debevoise & Plimpton.

Its peers Catlin, Beazley and Chaucer have all launched rights issues this year. Barbara Merry, chief executive of Hardy, said: “If you were an investor you would be a bit fed up with Lloyd’s businesses coming around raising money. But we actually had a good reception.”

She added: “We are not seeking money to repair our balance sheet or to try to sort out 2009’s underwriting. What we are talking about is raising money for a growth proposition.”

Hardy’s 2008 results were ahead of market expectations. Gross written premium stood at £172.8m, up from £147.5m posted in 2007. Pre-tax profit was £23.1m, up from £18.3m in 2007.

Merry added: “We were very conservative on our investments and didn’t have any toxic assets on our balance sheet.”