Mapfre Middlesea plc - Full Year Results & Dividends

The Board of Directors of Middlesea Insurance plc published the preliminary statement of annual results for 2004 following a meeting held on 29 April 2005.

Total gross premiums written by the Middlesea Group increased by 2% in 2004 to Lm35.9 million. Progress Assicurazioni SpA remains the largest contributor to gross premiums and accounted for just over 60% of total premiums written during the year.

Total income from insurance activities increased by 58.9% to Lm2.5 million. This was mainly brought about by a substantial improvement in the balance of the general business technical account, which increased from Lm661,690 to Lm1.5 million in 2004. The Group’s share of profits from Middlesea Valletta Life Assurance Co. Ltd. amounted to Lm819,258, an increase of 20.5% over the share of profits in 2003. On the other hand, profits from Progress Assicurazioni dropped by 34% to Lm314,350. Net investment income amounted to Lm1.5 million in 2004, down from Lm1.65 million the previous year as a result of higher investment expenses and charges. Group administrative expenses increased by 10.9% to Lm1.17 million.

Group profit on ordinary activities before tax surged by 59.7% to Lm2.2 million. The tax expense in 2004 amounted to Lm503,026 compared to just Lm27,312 last year. After accounting for minority interests (relating to the aggregation of results of Progress Assicurazioni Spa, Malta International Training Centre and Churchwarf Properties Ltd. which are consolidated in the group accounts but not fully-owned by the holding company), the Group’s profit for the year amounted to Lm1.58 million, which represents a rise of 48.5% over the profits generated in 2003. Earnings per share increased from 8c5 to 12c7.

The Directors have recommended the payment of a dividend of Lm750,000 (equivalent to 6c per share), an increase of 20% over the 5c dividend distributed last year. Similar to last year, this dividend is being paid out of an untaxed account and shareholders are subject to a 15% final withholding tax upon distribution. This dividend will be paid to all shareholders on the company’s register as at close of trading on 17 May 2005.

Group total assets increased by 7.0% to Lm100.2 million with shareholders’ funds (including minority interests) of Lm28.7 million as at 31 December 2004. This translates into a net asset value per share of 229c6.

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