Hamilton, Bermuda (December 5, 2022) – Argus Group Holdings Limited (the “Group”; “the Company”; the “Argus Group”) today announced net income for the six months to September 30, 2022 of $26.3 million, compared to $8.1 million in the previous year.
Argus Chief Executive Officer, Alison Hill stated, “The financial results for the six months to September 30, 2022 were largely driven by the global inflationary pressures and the resulting increases in interest rates. We invite our investors and customers to take a closer look at our group results to recognise the core strength and resilience of our underlying operations during these volatile times.”
Key performance metrics for the Group have remained strong. Operating earnings – a key measure of Group profitability – was $7.8 million for the six-months ended September 30, 2022, compared to $9.8 million for the same period last year. For the six months to September 30, 2022 the Group’s combined ratio for the health and general insurance businesses was 76.5% which compares well with the 3-year average of 76.3%.
Shareholders’ equity at September 30, 2022 was $126.8 million, compared to $143.0 million at March 31, 2022. Substantial rises in market interest rates over the six-months to September 2022 resulted in unrealised losses in the Group’s fixed-income bond portfolios and a $16.2 million decline in consolidated net equity over the period.
Ms. Hill comments, “The Group’s fixed income bonds are of high quality and typically held to maturity, allowing unrealised losses to unwind over the remaining life of the asset. We therefore view the six-month decline in shareholders’ equity as temporary.”
“When viewed over the longer-term, we remain pleased with our shareholders’ equity which has grown $20.9 million or approximately 20% since March 2018. During the same period we have also deployed $2.9 million in share buy-backs and returned $18.2 million to shareholders in dividend payments.”
Economic activity returned to more normal levels during the six months to September 30, 2022. As a result, benefit and claims costs across our core businesses increased $2.2 million or approximately 6 percent compared to the prior year. Net premiums earned within our core insurance businesses increased $4.0 million or approximately 7 percent compared to prior year.
Combined fee income was $21.3 million, a decrease of $0.4 million or approximately 2% over the prior year, largely from market driven declines in pension administration fee income.
The Company’s share price on September 30, 2022 was $6.39 compared with $6.10 on March 31, 2022. Book value per share is $5.91 at September 30, 2022 compared with $6.69 at March 31, 2022.
Ms. Hill comments, “It is gratifying to see our share price grow over the past 18 months and we are encouraged by the market’s recognition of the value we’re building and will continue to build for our shareholders.”
Based on the Group’s financial strength and performance, Argus has declared a dividend of eleven cents per share for shareholders of record as of December 31, 2022, payable on January 27, 2023.
Ms. Hill concluded, “It is during these volatile times that we see the strength and stability of our core underlying business. Take a closer look and you will see how we continue to successfully navigate financial and operational complexities whilst keeping our customers, our shareholders, our colleagues and our community at the heart of everything that we do. As we face into the macroeconomic headwinds of rapidly rising interest rates and broad-based cost inflation, we are confident that our business is resilient, and our talented team are ready to grow further, faster. Through our people we are a powerful force for sustainable wellbeing, making physical, financial and mental wellbeing meaningfully better in our connected communities.”