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Shares in Hiscox surged as much as 14% on Monday

As the Lloyd’s of London insurer attracts foreign takeover interest
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Shares in Hiscox surged as much as 14 per cent on Monday following news that two foreign rivals are considering takeover bids for the Lloyd’s of London insurer.

Japan’s Sompo Holdings and Italy’s Assicurazioni Generali are eyeing a possible acquisition, according to trade publication Insurance Insider.

Sompo, based in Tokyo, provides property and casualty insurance, while Trieste-based Generali is a general insurer.

City A.M. approached Hiscox for comment on the reported takeover interest.

Hiscox’s stock is currently trading at 1,252p – its highest level since February 2020, when the firm’s shares plunged during the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Following Monday’s gains, the company’s market capitalisation stands at £4.25bn. Shares in fellow insurers Lancashire Holdings and Beazley followed Hiscox higher, rising around three per cent.

The news underscores what has been a surge of takeover interest in London-listed firms this year as mostly overseas buyers look to pounce on companies’ relatively low stock market valuations compared to their peers in other countries.

In May, Hiscox posted healthy premium growth and said that for the first time in a number of years, all parts of its UK business were in “growth mode” and that Europe was also performing strongly.

Its insurance contract written premium (ICWP) grew to $1.54bn (£1.23bn) in the first three months of 2024 from $1.42bn (£1.13bn) during the same period last year.

Hiscox’s retail ICWP grew 5.8 per cent in constant currency during the first quarter, while US digital partnerships and direct growth rose to 11.3 per cent.

Hiscox, which is based in Hamilton, Bermuda, saw its highest-ever annual profit last year on the back of higher interest rates and a strong performance from its commercial business.

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