Legal & General set to boost UK investment spree

Legal & General: wowed with 'superb'  first-half trading figures. Picture: Contributed
Legal & General: wowed with 'superb' first-half trading figures. Picture: Contributed
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Insurance giant Legal & General wowed the City on Tuesday as it revealed “superb” first-half trading figures, which featured double-digit growth in sales, cash and profits.

Chief executive Nigel Wilson said he expects to use some of the company’s £433 billion in assets under management to invest in energy, property and transport projects to boost the UK economy, adding that he was “excited about the future”.

Richard Curr, head of trading at broker Prime Markets, noted that the firm was “clearly blazing a trail”, adding that L&G has also nearly doubled its share price this year.

Wilson said: “As the largest shareholder in the UK, we’re encouraging companies to use the hundreds of billions of pounds they are sitting on to boost infrastructure. The UK is a great place to do business and we all must capitalise on its strengths.”

Wilson also pointed to the firm’s recent acquisitions, including its £131 million deal to buy digital savings platform Co-funds, and Scottish housebuilder Cala, which it acquired alongside of venture capital firm Patron for £210m.

“We are successfully evolving our strategy from a post-financial crisis focus on cash, to one based on cash plus growth plus selective acquisitions.

“We have the scale, strength and skill-sets to provide insurance, savings and investment solutions that work for individuals, families, companies and for ‘UK plc’,” he added.

Curr said: “Legal & General might not have had the high-profile press coverage that some companies in the financial services sector have enjoyed/

endured this year but, regardless, up to today the insurance giant has prospered and delivered a near doubling in share price for shareholders. The numbers today are superb.”

Profits at the insurer rose 30 per cent to £77m, while revenues rose to £19 billion from £11bn. L&G also unveiled a 22 per cent dividend increase to 2.4p. Shares closed up 4.5p or 2.3 per cent at 201.9p.