Page last updated at 08:33 GMT, Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Record profit for insurance firm Admiral

Henry Engelhardt
Henry Engelhardt says it was a "great year" for his company

Admiral has reported record profits and continued "strong growth" which enabled the insurance company to exceed £1bn turnover for the first time.

Profit before tax in 2009 was £215.8m, compared to £202.5m in 2008, an increase of 7%.

Chief executive Henry Engelhardt said the UK car insurance business remained "central to our success", producing a pre-tax profit £206.9m.

He said the results of the Cardiff-based firm was "outstanding".

Admiral is Wales' only FTSE 100 company, employing about 1,600 people in Cardiff, 1,200 in Swansea and 200 in Newport.

"In 2009 Admiral's continued strong growth enabled us to exceed £1bn turnover for the first time in our history, to deliver yet another set of record profits and to pay another record dividend," said Mr Engelhardt.

"This is no mean feat whatever the circumstances but given that 2009 was a year of recession and record lows for investment returns this is an outstanding achievement."

He added: "In sum, it was a great year, which means that every member of staff in every country will get the maximum payout of shares in our employee share scheme, with a total value of over £9m for 2009 as a whole. They earned it."

Mr Engelhardt said the UK car insurance business remained central to the company's success, producing a "great result".

Profitable businesses

The number of customers increased by 17% and premium rates increased by 12%, which Mr Engelhardt said was "broadly in line with the UK market".

He said after a period of minimal increases, premiums were now rising "to compensate for claims inflation in recent years".

Admiral has continued to develop operations outside the UK and now has more than 120,000 car insurance customers outside the UK.

"These businesses contributed £47.2m of turnover in 2009," said Mr Engelhardt.

He added: "It's not all plain sailing and setting up businesses outside the UK has its challenges - it takes time and some money to build growing, profitable businesses.

"However, if I could fast forward 10 years I'd expect to see these businesses as key drivers of our profit growth."

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