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Steadfast earnings jump on rising prices, acquisitions 

Steadfast full-year underlying net profit rose 22.5% to $207 million driven by pricing and volume increases in the broking and underwriting agencies as well as contributions from acquisitions in the past two financial years. 

CEO Robert Kelly says the group had achieved its tenth consecutive record underlying earnings since listing a decade ago and the result is at the top end of upgraded earnings guidance advised in February. 

Steadfast says it has outlaid $574.2 million on earnings per share accretive acquisitions in the past year, including Insurance Brands Australia. 

“We also continued to deliver on our active acquisition pipeline, where the group is seeking to increase its equity positions in network brokers,” Mr Kelly said. 

Underlying revenue rose 24.1% to $1.41 billion and underlying earnings before interest, tax and amortisation rose 26.5% to $430.7 million. 

Statutory net profit was $189.2 million compared with $171.6 million a year early, including non-trading net losses mainly due to actual earnout payments for businesses acquired being more than expected. 

Steadfast Network Brokers reported record gross written premium (GWP) of $11.6 billion, up 12.8% as the hardening market and solid volume growth more than mitigated expected cost increases. 

In the underwriting agencies business, GWP rose 16.7% to $2.1 billion. Steadfast currently has 29 specialist agencies offering more than 100 niche products to the market. 

The company says it has a $445 million pipeline of active acquisition opportunities, including those where due diligence has commenced and term sheets issued, as well as other opportunities. 

Mr Kelly says the company is excited about the potential for international expansion of the Steadfast Network systems, and the opportunities it provides to partner with distribution, with more detail to be provided at the annual general meeting. 

Steadfast guidance for this financial year is for underlying EBITA of $500-510 million and underlying net profit of $230-240 million.