Strong banking performance drives rise in operating profit at Close Brothers

Adjusted operating profit increased 26 per cent to 79.8m pounds in the six months to January 31st 2013 at specialist financial services group Close Brothers underpinned by strong performance within the Banking division.

Adjusted operating profit increased 26 per cent to 79.8m pounds in the six months to January 31st 2013 at specialist financial services group Close Brothers underpinned by strong performance within the Banking division.

The group reported that the Banking division saw a 26% increase in adjusted operating profit, reflecting loan book growth of 6.0% and an improved bad debt ratio of 1.2%.

In Securities, UK market-maker Winterflood remained consistently profitable amidst "tough conditions" with adjusted operating profit of £7.0m, down from £8.4m the year before.

The group reported that its Asset Management division is on track to move into profitability this year after delivering a 6.0% increase in assets under management to £8.9bn in the first half.

Strong funding levels were maintained with a core tier-one capital ratio of 12.7% recorded.

The interim dividend per share increased 7.0% to 15.0p and basic earnings per share also increased 16% to 40.4p.

Preben Prebensen, Chief Executive Officer of Close Brothers, commented: "The group achieved a good result in the period as Banking delivered another strong performance, Securities held up well in the continued difficult market conditions and Asset Management made progress and delivered an improved result. We have made good progress on our strategic priorities and look forward with confidence."

MF

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