CBL sees annual earnings growth of up to 22pc in 2017

CBL chairman Sir John Wells. CBL Corp expects to see annual earnings growth of up to 22 per cent in calendar 2017. Photo / Jason Oxenham
CBL chairman Sir John Wells. CBL Corp expects to see annual earnings growth of up to 22 per cent in calendar 2017. Photo / Jason Oxenham

CBL Corp expects to see annual earnings growth of up to 22 per cent in calendar 2017, providing detailed guidance less than a week after reporting full-year profit for 2016 that missed some market expectations.

The Auckland-based credit surety and financial risk insurance firm expects underlying operating profit to rise by between 18 per cent and 22 per cent in calendar 2017 on revenue growth of 12 per cent to 16 per cent, according to presentation slides filed to the NZX. The insurer's operating earnings rose 27 per cent to $76.2 million in 2016, beating its prospectus forecast for earnings of $63.6m, on a 36 per cent gain in revenue to $333.5m.

That implies an earnings forecast of $89.9m-to-$93m on revenue of $373.5m-to-$386.9m, which would be on a constant currency basis and include 100 per cent of CBL's recent acquisitions: UK tax investigation insurance provider Professional Fee Protection, and France's largest specialist producer of construction-sector insurance Securities and Financial Solutions Europe SA.

The shares rose 0.3 per cent to $2.98, having slumped 20 per cent slump since the result last Friday, which disappointed some investors who were expecting faster earnings growth.

Last week, CBL had said it anticipated 2017 would be "a strong year with a developing pipeline of new business" and would refocus "on business development opportunities across the group and consolidating acquisitions", without providing specific guidance.

CBL listed on the NZX in 2015, raising $90m to help fund the acquisition of Australia's largest surety bond insurer Assetinsure, selling shares at $1.45 apiece. The company began life as Contractors Bonding Ltd in 1973, and derives the bulk of its revenue from international operations, meaning its bottom line is influenced by unrealised foreign exchange movements.

- BusinessDesk

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