Close Brothers Group, a specialist financial services company, has reported that its adjusted operating profits for the six months to 31 January 31 were broadly unchanged at £63 million due to the difficult economic and financial market uncertainty for securities. The adjusted basic EPS slipped 3 per cent to 31.9 pence from 32.9 pence in 2011.
The adjusted operating profit in the banking division rose 27 per cent to £61.8 million from £48.6 million in 2011, and the loan book rose 18 per cent over the last year including 9 per cent in the last six months. In securities both Winterflood and Seydler were impacted by difficult trading conditions, leading to a 58 per cent reduction in adjusted operating profit to £13.2 million (2011: £31.1 million). The Asset Management division has made good progress and is now in the final stages of its restructuring and
investment, and delivered a small loss in the period of £2.6 million (2011:loss of £6.0 million).
While commenting on the group's half year results, CEO Preben Prebensen said: "In the first half, Close Brothers once again demonstrated its resilience in a challenging and uncertain external environment. The banking division achieved another strong performance, offsetting the effect of difficult market conditions on Securities. The asset management division continued to make good progress on its strategic transformation. We have a strong financial position, our businesses remain well positioned and we look forward to the second half of the year with confidence."
The group's overall assets under management dropped 10 per cent to £8.6 billion (31 July 2011: £9.6 billion) and it declared an interim dividend of 14.0 pence per share, a 4 per cent growth on the 13.5 pence interim dividend declared in 2011.
Overall, Close Brothers is confident that it will deliver a solid performance for the 2012 financial year.