The Group has traded profitably during FY 2015, generated strong positive cash flows and, in line with guidance, paid a progressive dividend.
The IFRS profit after tax for the year was £14.9m (2013: £8.3m). These numbers are significantly affected by a number of exceptional items in FY 2015 and FY 2014.
Prior to exceptional items, the underlying IFRS profit was £12.0m compared with £14.7m in FY 2014. Lower new business and the continued run-off of Hansard Europe have resulted in lower levels of fees and commissions being earned. These were £56.3m for FY 2015 compared to £59.5m for FY 2014.
The most significant exceptional item affecting profit in FY 2015 was the full and final settlement with HMRC for the weaknesses in issuing Chargeable Events Certificates (as previously announced on 5 June 2015) at a level significantly below that provided for in FY 2014. This resulted in a net benefit, after all professional fees, of £3.0m in FY 2015 (charge of £5.0m in FY 2014).
A European Embedded Value ("EEV") operating loss of £6.3m was incurred in the year (FY 2014: loss of £6.6m). This result is driven largely by reduced new business levels and a smaller overall book of business to cover the Group's expense base. Positive investment return experience and economic assumptions contributed £9.2m to an overall EEV profit of £2.9m (FY 2014: loss of £10.7m).
The Group Embedded Value of £195m has reduced from £204m last year primarily as a result of dividends paid to shareholders of £11.7m.
The Board has proposed a final dividend of 5.25p per share (2014: 5.0p) which, if approved by the shareholders, represents an increased total dividend of 8.75p (2014: 8.4p) per share in respect of the financial year.