Listen to this article
Close Brothers Group, the UK merchant bank, has reported pre-tax profits of £131.4m for the six months to January 31st – up by 21 per cent from the same period last year.
Banking adjusted operating profit was up by 13 per cent to £122.7m as lending income increased and the loan book grew by 1.7 per cent over the period. Year-on-year, the book is up by just under 10 per cent, which the group ascribed to a “disciplined approach to lending in a more competitive environment”.
Boosted by improving market conditions, the group’s securities business, Winterflood, returned an operating profit of £14.4m over the six months to January 31 – more than double profits posted for the first six months of 2016. In September, Winterflood posted a £19m operating profit in preliminary 12-month results to July 31.
Assets under management also grew over the period, up 3.2 per cent to £10.2bn compared with the same time last year.
The group announced it would increase the first-half dividend to 20p, up 5 per cent year-on-year.
In a separate announcement, Mike Biggs, chairman of Direct Line, the insurance group, will replace Strone Macpherson as chairman on May 1 following Mr Macpherson’s decision to retire.
Preben Prebenson, chief executive of Close Brothers Group, said:
Trading conditions have clearly been favourable in the first half, but as always our priority remains to protect, sustain and invest in our business for the long term. Our service-driven model, focused on specialist markets, has allowed us to support our clients, invest in our business and generate strong returns for shareholders over many years.
Get alerts on Close Brothers Group PLC when a new story is published