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L&G lifts interim dividend as H1 profit rises 13% YOY

British insurer Legal & General Group PLC reported first-half profit after tax attributable to equity holders of £874 million, up year over year from £771 million.

EPS for the period came in at 14.74 pence, compared to the year-ago 13.00 pence. Return on equity fell to 20.2% from 20.3%.

Gross written premiums for the insurance division grew 7% on a yearly basis to £1.41 billion, while the general insurance division, which L&G is selling to German rival Allianz Group, saw gross written premiums increase 13% year over year to £218 million.

The group's operating profit rose to £1.01 billion from £909 million a year earlier.

Net release from continuing operations, excluding the mature savings and general insurance divisions, increased 29% year over year to £858 million.

First-half Solvency II operational surplus generation increased to £800 million from £700 million a year earlier, while net surplus generation fell to £500 million from £600 million in the first half of 2018.

The group's Solvency II coverage ratio was 171% at the end of June, compared to 188% at 2018-end. The ratio was affected by discounting the balance sheet at lower interest rates.

The group said it will pay an interim dividend of 4.93 pence per share for the period, an increase from 4.60 pence per share a year ago, adding that it continues to expect to deliver EPS growth of 10% annually through 2020.

L&G said its Brexit contingency plans are "at full readiness" with its investment management unit having secured relevant authorization for an EU asset management company in 2018 and having transferred all EU-regulated funds. The company added it will continue to monitor the market as Brexit unfolds.