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LV= profits jump 128 per cent to £62.8m

LV= operating profit was up 128 per cent from £27.5m to £62.8m in 2008.

The firm’s gross premiums increased 38 per cent to £917m.

LV= recorded a group IFRS loss after tax of £202m for 2008 which it puts down to volatile stockmarkets.

The firm says its group capital surplus is 2.1 times the required level.

The successful acquisition of Swiss Re’s retirement business at the end of 2007 drove an 83 per cent growth in new business for the life division.

LV= says enhanced annuities showed strong sales and it significantly improved market share in this area over the year.

Pension consolidation business brought in £500m last year. The firm says it is looking to grow in the Sipp market in 2009.

LV= with-profits fund dropped 17 per cent as a result of turbulent markets, the firm says.

Group chief executive Mike Rogers says: “Throughout a turbulent year our single-minded focus on helping our members and customers to look after what they love has held us in good stead. The very strong growth in operating profit reflects significant progress over the last two years in re-shaping our business portfolio and strengthening our organisational capabilities.

“Our focus on high quality, long-term investments has allowed us to maintain our relatively strong investment performance and financial strength, despite very volatile short-term markets. In particular we have had no direct exposure to failing Icelandic banks, nor to the sub-prime mortgage market.

“Trading has started well in 2009, with sales in the first two months strongly ahead of the same period last year, although investment markets remained volatile.”

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