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13 Mar, 2008

By Matthew Goodburn | 10:09:40 | 13 March 2008

Shares in reinsurance broker Benfield Group were trading down almost 13% in early trading after the group warned 2008 profits would be below 2007 numbers.

At 10:00am shares in the group were trading down 34.25p or 13% at 225.50p.

The group posted £50.9 million pretax profits for 2007 against £53 million last time as it admitted that the movement of foreign currency exchange rates had had a negative effect on 2007 revenues and trading results.

In a statement to the stock exchange the group said: 'The difficult trading conditions of 2007 are likely to continue in the short term and consequently, absent significant improvement in market conditions, we anticipate the 2008 trading result will be marginally below that for 2007.

Benfield said the weak dollar had impacted reported revenues by £16.9 million and its trading results by £10.3 million.

Group revenues were £339.2 million, down from £355.3 million last time although at constant rates of exchange Benfield said revenues increased by 0.2%.

The stock is well held by UK asset managers, with Jupiter holding 5% of the group and Hendersons around 3%.

Benfield produced a final dividend for 2007 of 9p giving it a full year dividend of 13p, an 8% increase on last year.

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