THB chief criticises carriers of underpricing to maintain market share

Last week THB Group’s chief executive, Frank Murphy, accused some carriers of holding back the hard market by underpricing to maintain market share. His criticism came as he announced underlying pre-tax profit had plummeted to £2.4m for the six months to 30 April 2009 from the £3.1m the group reported in 2008. Earnings per share also fell to 5.16p from the 6.78p in 2008. While EPS slumped by 21% THB reassured shareholders they would still receive a dividend payment in August. Following the announcement, THB’s share price only dipped by 0.66% during the week to 75.5p per share. The group said the effects of the soft market and the impact of interest rate reduction on investment income held back the overall result. However the specialist broker did enjoy a 20% increase in turnover and 29% growth in its THB UK operation.