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Assets grow as profits fall at Atrium

Atrium's pre-tax profits fell to £13.4mn the company reported in its first-half results for 2005, down from a restated figure of £15.7mn for the same period in 2004.

The Lloyd's underwriter reported its interim results on 28 September with net tangible assets one of the few columns showing an improvement, up from 129.4 pence per share to 151.4 pence per share.

The firm's Return on Equity was down 11 percent to 23 percent, and net combined ratio up 2 percent to 86 percent.

Gross written premiums were down to £94.5mn, from a restated figure of £127.7mn a year earlier, although the company said this was due to a more selective writing strategy.

Nick Marsh, Atrium's CEO, commented: "A year ago we reported an exceptional set of results at what was the peak of the underwriting cycle and forecast that the market would soften. Today, we have produced a solid set of results in that softening market, which are consistent with our continued focus on writing business for profit not volume."

Atrium has estimated losses of £15mn net for Hurricane Katrina, which is 9.5 percent of its 2005 underwriting portfolio capacity. However the company says it is confident that it will be in a healthy position to take advantage of rate rises in sectors such as onshore and offshore energy, large commercial property, cargo and catastrophe reinsurance.

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