September 13, 2017 / 6:36 AM / in a year

Just Group H1 operating profit rises to $89.4 million

LONDON, Sept 13 (Reuters) - British annuity provider Just Group posted a 39 percent rise in operating profit for the first half of the year on Wednesday, helped by cost savings and strong new business profit and beating analyst expectations.

The group, which specialises in annuities for people with reduced life expectancy, posted adjusted operating profit of 67.2 million pounds ($89.40 million) in the six months ending June 30.

New business profit more than doubled, rising by 106 percent to 64 million pounds ($85.14 million), where analysts had expected rises of between 50 and 70 percent.

The group’s board decided on an expected 6 percent increase in shareholders’ interim dividend, to 1.17p.

“We had a good start to the year,” said Just Group chief executive Rodney Cook in a statement.

“A 2017 full year margin above 8 percent seems increasingly likely”, he added.

Formerly known as JRP, Just Group was forged by a tie-up between Just Retirement and Partnership Assurance in April 2016. ($1 = 0.7517 pounds) (Reporting by Emma Rumney; editing by Carolyn Cohn)

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