September 22, 2017 / 6:38 AM / 3 months ago

Insurer Saga reports 5.5 percent rise in profits

LONDON, Sept 22 (Reuters) - British over-50s travel and insurance company Saga Plc reported a 5.5 percent rise in first-half pre-tax profit, bolstered by strong demand for holidays among older Britons.

Saga, which offers ocean and river cruises, singles holidays and escorted tours, said on Friday pre-tax profit rose to 110.2 million pounds ($149.79 million) in the six months period ending on July 31, from 104.5 million pounds a year earlier.

The company said it would pay an interim dividend of 3.0 pence per share, up 11.1 percent.

“Saga is on track to deliver a fourth consecutive year of growth,” said Chief Executive Lance Batchelor, stressing that both the firm’s retail broking and travel divisions performed well.

Many Britons have been hit by a squeeze on incomes driven by the drop in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote, but Saga said it was confident in demand with pre-sales for a new ship, due to set sail in June 2019, strong.

It said it would bring forward the arrival of a second new ship to August 2020.

$1 = 0.7357 pounds Reporting by Emma Rumney; editing by Pamela Barbaglia

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