JRP Group - created from the merger Just Retirement and Partnership in April - reports improved IFRS new business margins up from 4% to 6% in the six months to the end of June, or pro-forma margins up from 2% to 5%, before the benefit of merger synergies. IFRS operating profit up 55% to £51m, or a pro-forma increase of 12%, to £48m and an IFRS profit before tax of £226m. The group said the annual run-rate synergy target increased by 13% to £45m by end of 2018 and that £15m of run-rate synergies had been achieved since the beginning of April. It said guaranteed income for life (GIfL) sales increased by 52% to £321m, or a pro-forma increase of 17% to £397m, making JRP the largest provider of GIfL solutions in the Open Market. Defined benefit de-risking (DB) sales of £164m were lower than in 2015 as expected. Since the end of June over £330m of DB sales have been transacted It said lifetime mortgage advances of £255m were up 71%, or a pro-forma increase of 57% to £322m, making JRP the largest funder of LTMs in the period. Group chief executive Rodney Cook said: "We were delighted to have completed the merger of Just Retirement and Partnership at the beginning of April and I am pleased to announce we are ahead of schedule in delivering synergy benefits. "In addition we have raised our synergy target from £40m and now expect to achieve annualised savings of at least £45m by the end of 2018. Our new business margin is starting to demonstrate the opportunity we have for potential further improvement as we deliver the cost synergies. "We have seen a considerable increase in Guaranteed Income for Life sales, which demonstrates the capability of the combined organisation and our competitive positioning in the open market. Our progress in DB is also strong, with sales of over £330m since the end of June, more than double the amount we completed in the whole of the first half. We continue to see a large and increasing pipeline of DB opportunities. Mortgage advances have also performed strongly, which positions the Group well for a strong second half in retirement product sales. "We are successfully adapting our business model to the new capital environment. The combination of increased margins, synergy delivery and a current coverage ratio of 134%, together with low gearing, gives us confidence in the long term growth prospects of the Group. "We look forward to giving you more detail on JRP, the attractiveness of our growing markets, competitive strengths and capital model at our capital markets day planned on 5th October."
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