Close Brothers Group reports a good performance for the year to the end of July in challenging conditions, with £234 million adjusted operating profit, up 4%, and a strong return on opening equity of 19%. Banking adjusted operating profit increased 7% underpinned by strong demand for the group's specialist lending products and historically low impairments. The loan book grew by 12%, supported by good underlying demand and an increased contribution from new initiatives, while the group maintained the discipline of its business model. Winterflood's performance improved in the second half, resulting in full year operating profit of £19 million. Asset Management delivered £14 million adjusted operating profit and positive net flows at 6% of opening managed assets. Continued dividend growth with a 7% increase to 57p while maintaining high dividend cover Chief executive Preben Prebensen said: "We are pleased to report a good performance for the 2016 financial year, with further growth in our earnings and dividend against a backdrop of more challenging market conditions. "We achieved good growth in all our lending businesses, while maintaining the strong returns and prudent underwriting criteria which underpin our long track record of profitability throughout the economic cycle. "Although markets and the economy remain uncertain, our strong balance sheet and established business model give us confidence that we can continue to support our clients, invest in our business and generate returns for our shareholders."
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