Hiscox (LSE: HSX) is a group of companies that operate in the insurance markets in the UK and Europe. In February it reported reduced profits for 2017 (down to £30.8m from £354.5m in 2016), which it blamed on the £160m it had reserved for insurance claims in a “historic year for catastrophes”.
Earnings per share also dropped to 9.3p from 119.8p. During the same period, gross written premiums rose to £2.55bn, up from £2.4bn the year before, while net premiums earned hit £1.88bn, compared with £1.68bn in 2016. Hiscox also increased its dividend by 5.5%.
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Mears Group (LSE: MER) is a social-housing repairs and maintenance service provider. In March it reported a 7% decline in operating profits for 2017, down to £37m, while group revenue decreased 4% to £900m. It blamed this on the fatal fire at Grenfell Tower, which delayed planned work. This also sent housing revenues down 3% to £766m.
Meanwhile, the order book fell to £2.6bn from £3.1bn as Mears had a slow period of securing new contracts. Despite this, and due to positive results at its home-care division, the firm raised its dividend by 3% to 12p per share.