Professional services group RBG posted a lower first-half profit and deferred its dividend, after higher staff costs and a previous-year investment gain offset a rise in revenue. Pre-tax profit for the six months through June declined to £1.45m, down from £3.20m on-year, when the company had booked a £2.0m investment gain. Revenue rose 45% to £12.0m, while staff costs rose 46% to £7.5m. RBL said it had decided to postpone the decision regarding any dividend until the year end, when it expected to have better visibility on performance for 2020 and wider economic indicators. 'Overall, there has been positive strategic and operational progress across the group, which has helped offset the negative impact of the coronavirus and has resulted in a stronger platform from which to drive future growth,' chief executive Nicola Foulston said. 'While the group has seen strong revenue growth overall, driven by the law firm, our profitability has reduced.' 'This should mainly be a timing issue if our plan to achieve higher margin profit from LionFish's litigation investment realisations and Convex Capital's fees in the second half is realised.' 'Like all businesses, it is difficult at this stage to predict with certainty what will happen in the coming months.' 'However, there is a growing demand for our legal services with many clients turning to us to help them manage issues during the crisis.' 'With the potential return of the higher-margin litigation investment sales and M&A fees, we look forward to the coming months with cautious optimism.'
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