Canadian Underwriter

Hub 3-Q earnings rocket amidst “unusual” stock trading

November 6, 2002   by Canadian Underwriter

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Broker network consolidator Hub International Ltd. (TSX: HBG) saw net income for the third quarter of this year rise by 59% to US$5.4 million compared with the US$3.4 million reported for the same period the previous year. Diluted earnings for the latest reporting period amount to 19c a share against the 9c a share shown for the third quarter of 2001.
Prior to, and subsequent to the release of the company’s latest financial return, stock market trading within HBG produced unusually high trade volumes, resulting in downward pressure on the share price. Hub issued a statement saying it is aware of the unusual market activity, but could provide no knowledge of “corporate developments” that could have sparked the trading action.
The network consolidator’s revenue for the third quarter rose by 14% year-on-year to US$49.6 million (3-Q 2001: US$43.6 million), which organic growth is largely responsible for this gain, the company says. “We have gained efficiencies in our processes and are addressing the needs of the under-served commercial middle-market. Importantly, we are effectively integrating the fold-in acquisitions that we have made in the past as we continue to pursue opportunities to acquire new hubs,” says CEO Martin Hughes.
Hub’s net earnings for the first nine months of this year climbed by 199% to US$21.1 million compared with the US$7.1 million reported for the same period a year ago. Diluted earnings for the same period rose by 119% to 79c a share against the 36c a share made during 2001. Total revenue for the nine month period increased by 55% to US$156.3 million from the US$101.1 million reported for the same period last year. The company says that about 28% of revenue growth shown for the latest nine months resulted from acquisitions. Hub has declared a dividend of Cdn7c a share, payable on December 31, to shareholders registered by December 16.

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