Just Retirement saw sales fall 8.6% over the past year, according to its half-year results published today.
Annuity sales were responsible for the fall in new business, though the firm says it has opted to focus on margins rather than quantity in the annuity space.
The firm is in ongoing takeover talks, originally announce in November last year, and says it will make further announcements on a possible offer in due course.
Total sales for the final six months of 2008 were £353.9m, down from £387m in the same period of 2007.
Annuity sales fell 13.1% to £272.1m, while equity release business grew during the period, up 10.7% to £81.8m.
IFRS underlying profits climbed to £7.4m after tax, up 54.2% from just £4.8m in the final six months of 2007.
"Our selective pricing policy has enabled us to protect annuity margins in the face of strong competition, albeit at a cost of a small and temporary reduction in sales volumes," says Just Retirement CEO, Mike Fuller.
"We have been able to continue to grow our equity release business at highly favourable margins."
A recent reduction in annuity rates has had a positive impact on the firm's business levels in early 2009, Fuller adds.
"The Group is currently experiencing historically unprecedented levels of application activity for annuities which will positively impact fourth quarter sales."
Contact: John Bakie, Tel: 020 7484 9805, e-mail: [email protected]IFAonline
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