Close Brothers Profit Rises 20% on Asset Management Recovery

Close Brothers Group Plc (CBG), the British financial services company founded in 1878, said full-year profit rose 20 percent after it restructured its asset management arm and increased lending.

Net income for the 12 months to July 31 increased to 119.4 million pounds ($191.5 million) from 99.7 million pounds in the year-earlier period, the London-based lender said in a statement today. The asset-management unit posted a profit of 4 million pounds from a 4.3 million-pound loss.

Close Brothers has been restructuring its funds business to focus on wealth management for U.K. private clients, and in 2011 sold its advisory, U.K. offshore and Cayman Islands operations to concentrate on banking, securities and asset management.

“The financial year was again shaped by a subdued economic environment, with slow growth and events in the euro zone continuing to impact sentiment,” Chief Executive Officer Preben Prebensen said in the statement. “There are significant opportunities in the U.K.’s markets. The group’s U.K. focus places us in a strong position to make the most of these.”

The shares were up 1.9 percent to 1155 pence at 8:17 a.m. in London trading, giving the company a market value of 1.7 billion pounds.

Revenue rose 10 percent to 582.9 million pounds, the company said. The lender’s loan book grew 13 percent to 4.6 billion pounds over the period.

Profit in the banking business, which makes short-term, secured commercial loans, gained 17 percent to 157.8 million pounds. The securities division, comprising stockbroker Winterfood Securities, reported profit of 25.7 million pounds, up 5 percent.

The full-year dividend rose 7 percent to 44.5 pence a share.

-- Editor: Jon Menon

To contact the reporter on this story: Liam Vaughan in London at lvaughan6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net

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