Bottom Line: Past hampers Invesco

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The Independent Online
Invesco, the fund manager, also disappointed the market with its full-year profits yesterday, and paid the price with a 22p fall in the share price to 172p.

Fund managers in general did particularly well in 1993, and merely to increase profits from pounds 12.6m to pounds 33.4m was seen as an indifferent performance.

Certainly, Invesco is increasing funds under management, up from pounds 40bn to pounds 45bn. But as other management groups' results have shown, the relation between funds' growth and increased profits can be less than close.

For a fund management company with Invesco's history, chairman Charles Brady's comment that he wanted to run the business 'very conservatively' sounds entirely sensible.

Invesco's profits were held back by net exceptionals of pounds 2m, which reflected the dying reverberations of Invesco's unhappy involvement with Drayton Trust and Robert Maxwell. These included the pounds 11.5m settlement with MGN pensioners.

Unexpectedly they also included a pounds 3m write-off against obsolete computer software, which Mr Brady insisted was a one-off.

The full-year dividend, up 16 per cent to 3.5p, also failed to excite. Earnings per share rose from 2.5p to 10p. Mr Brady said that untangling the company from past activities had drained it of cash in the past 18 months. Its need to rebuild the balance sheet should ensure that 1994 will be a year of consolidation.

Invesco's shares have recovered dramatically from their 1992 nadir of below 50p, but these disappointing figures, and a cautious dividend outlook, make the shares unattractive.