Source - Alliance News

Walker Crips Group PLC on Friday said profit rose in the first half of its financial year, but the London stockbroker and asset manager still faces a ‘challenging headwind’.

Pretax profit for the six months that ended September 30 was £145,000 multiplying from £54,000 a year ago. The year-earlier period suffered from an exceptional charge of £112,000, which included completion of a restructuring and redundancy programme and compensation for a confidential settlement agreement.

Excluding this, profit before tax and exceptional items a year ago was £166,000, putting this year’s result down 13%.

Revenue climbed by 2.5% to £16.1 million in the recent half-year from £15.7 million a year prior, but this was more than offset by administrative expenses rising 12% to £12.1 million from £10.8 million a year ago.

Assets under management decreased by 11% to £4.9 billion on September 30 from £5.5 billion on March 31.

The company declared an interim dividend of 0.25 pence per share, a decrease of 17% from 0.30p a year ago.

Chair Martin Wright said: ‘A strong contribution from our structured products business together with the positive income effect of the rising interest rate environment helped mitigate the reduction in investment management revenues and trading commissions that are reflective of lower market levels, resulting in much improved reported gross profits.

‘However, this improvement has been offset by the inflationary impact on costs, particularly salaries, reflecting the tight labour market, and additional costs taken on in the period. The difficult economic environment and inflationary cost pressures remain a challenging headwind and our focus continues to be on revenue growth, improving operating efficiency and systems, and cost control.’

Walker Crips shares were marginally lower at 29.49 pence each in London on Friday morning.

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