The Sesame Bankhall Group has reported operating profits of £2m for the first six months of 2010 compared to an equivalent loss of £2m for the same period last year.
The first half results include £1m in one-off integration costs related to the consolidation of Sesame and Bankhall offices, after the acquisition in October 2009. Friends Provident reported a £1m loss for the distribution business in first half of 2009 after a contribution of £1m from Pantheon Financial, which was disposed of in March.
Friends says Sesame Bankhall benefited from improving market conditions in the second half of 2009 to contribute a profit of £3m to the group.
Meanwhile, Friends Provident has reported a profit on an international financial reporting standards basis of £159m for the first half of 2010 up significantly year-on-year from a £94m loss.
Total group sales are up 42 per cent for the period to £458m on an annual premium equivalent basis. UK sales are up 6 per cent to £203m from £191m in the first half of 2009 while international new business excluding Lombard saw a 43 per cent jump year-on-year to £120m from £84m.
Group pension sales are up 9 per cent to £152m from £140m last year. Friends says the market continues to be challenging with incremental business remaining depressed during the period and new schemes being impacted by uncertainty surrounding its acquisition by Resolution.
Individual protection sales are 10 per cent down on sales for the first half of 2009 at £18m compared with £20m. The insurer says the protection market is still subdued and reflects the poor economic conditions and low housing sales volumes. It does not expect the outlook to improve in the near term.
Friends reported an 8 per cent increase in annuity sales to £14m from £13m for the first half of 2010.
Group chief executive Trevor Matthews says: “I am pleased to report strong momentum in our business with first half sales up by 42 per cent overall, a strong increase in both profits and cash flow and a significant reduction in operating costs in the UK business.
“Confidence in Friends Provident is high as we progress towards completion of the acquisition of the majority of the Axa UK’s life businesses, a key step in our consolidation strategy.
“I am delighted by the positive reaction to the announcement of the transaction, especially from our key distributors. We continue to invest for the future in our core propositions such as the Next Generation Solutions corporate platform and in our successful International businesses.”