L&G profits soar to £537m

Legal and General’s profits have jumped from a loss of £143m in H1 2009 to £537m in H1 2010.

Its operating profit rose by 34% to £542m and it reports an estimated IGD surplus of £3.3bn.

The net cash generation has risen by 19% to £358m while the H1 dividend has jumped by 20% to 1.33p per share.

But it is downbeat about the prospects for the mortgage and housing market.

The report states: “There is no sign of material recovery in the UK housing market, where we expect mortgage supply and housing transactions to remain depressed into 2011. This, coupled with continued economic uncertainty, means that we are likely to see limited growth in UK protection markets this year.

“Competition remains intense although we expect to benefit from consolidation and exits by competitors who do not have the scale necessary to compete in these markets.”

L&G’s worldwide new business rose by 18% to £881m.

It’s balance sheet is split between £320bn in fund management, £56bn in savings and £24bn in annuities

But Tim Breedon, chief executive at L&G, is optimistic about the future but not housing.

He adds: “The outlook for our markets in the second half of 2010 and into 2011 continues to be mixed. We are optimistic about growth prospects in UK savings and annuities, though there is little evidence of recovery in the UK housing market. We continue to see opportunities to export our investment management and bancassurance franchises into international markets.

“At the end of June the Group had £3.3bn of capital in excess of our current regulatory capital requirements. This means we are ideally placed to respond to current market and economic

uncertainty and to take advantage of the significant opportunities for growth that are emerging from the

changing landscape for financial services post credit crisis.”