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Acquisition gives a boost to Rathbone profits and payout

Rathbone Brothers, the private banking and asset management group, recorded a sharp increase in profits, boosted by last year's acquisition of Laurence Keen, the investment manager and stockbroker.

Announcing a 20 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to pounds 7.4m for 1995, Oliver Stanley, chairman, said the group was still on the look-out for further deals but would not diversify from its core activities.

Mr Stanley said he was pleased with the performance of Laurence Keen, which Rathbone acquired last March for pounds 10m in shares.

The existing investment management departments in London and Liverpool are still expanding and, following the Laurence Keen deal, Rathbones has pounds 2bn of funds under management. Both the trust and advisory department enjoyed good years, with significant increases in business.

Mr Stanley said that with much of the trust department's revenue earnings and operating expenses in Swiss francs, the group was helped and hindered by the currency's strength.

Group turnover rose from pounds 18m to pounds 28m. Earnings per share rose from 21p to 21.3p and the final dividend was increased from 9p to 10p.

Rathbone was established in 1742 to manage the fortunes of the Liverpool Rathbone family, which made its fortunes in timber and ships. It has expanded into the management of private client money since it merged with Combined Financial Services in 1988.