AUB sees momentum continuing after earnings increase

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AUB Group sees momentum continuing after a strong operational and financial result in the past financial year bolstered by existing businesses and acquisitions.

The group anticipates underlying net profit this year of $86-91 million, representing growth of 16.2-23%, excluding its major Tysers acquisition in the UK. Outlook assumptions include continued strong premium rate rises for Australia and moderate but accelerating rises in New Zealand.

In the year to June 30, AUB underlying net profit from continuing operations rose 22.2% to $74 million, while reported net profit increased 14.5% to $80.8 million.

“We continue to demonstrate our ability to grow revenue and profits organically as well as through selective acquisitions,” CEO Mike Emmett told a briefing. “I am also pleased that we have strong momentum into the new year.”

AUB in May announced an $880 million acquisition of London-based Lloyd’s brokers Tysers, which places about $3.6 billion in gross written premium, marking a significant step for the company.

Mr Emmett said the regulatory approval process for the deal is progressing well, with completion targeted for late this year. Tysers has said its revenue grew 8% in the June half compared to the year-earlier period, accelerating from 6% March quarter growth.

“We remain confident about the financial outlook for Tysers and the synergy opportunities we presented in May, and in fact AUB Group’s international placement volumes have continued to increase as predicted, reinforcing the synergy benefits,” Mr Emmett said.

In the past year, Australian broking underlying pre-tax profit increased 19.7% to $86.1 million, supported by increased commercial lines premiums, growth in client and policy count and cost reductions from network rationalisations.

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Agencies profit rose 53.5% to $22.8 million following the previous acquisition of 360 Underwriting in the previous year and a restructuring of the division.

SME-targeted insurance platform business BizCover reported an 18.4% increase in profit to $10.5 million, while New Zealand earnings fell 15.3% to $9 million after reduced profits in broker BWRS and investment in the Project Lola technology platform.

Priorities for the year ahead include optimising the Tysers’ contribution to the group after the acquisition, and improving the performance of New Zealand. The group will also remain on the lookout for “strategically aligned” acquisitions.