Broking arm drives rise of 24% at Jardine

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The Independent Online
JARDINE MATHESON, the trading house that angered the Hong Kong business community earlier this year by announcing plans to drop its listing in the colony, announced a 24 per cent rise in pre-tax profits in the six months to June.

Henry Keswick, chairman, said the results had been driven by a strong performance from Jardine Fleming, the stockbroker and fund manager. The dividend rose 15 per cent.

Profit before tax jumped from USdollars 353.1m to dollars 465.1m. Earnings per share were 37.1 cents (30.2 cents) and the dividend increased from 6.8 cents to 7.8 cents.

Jardine, one of the hongs that founded the colony 150 years ago on the back of the opium trade, caused a furore in March when it said it would bind itself to the new takeover code of Bermuda, where it moved its domicile in 1984.

Within the core Jardine Pacific businesses, earnings rose 7 per cent, boosted by better wine and spirit sales in Japan and a good performance from Pizza Hut in Taiwan.

Profits from JIB, the separately quoted insurance broker, rose 17 per cent, with the main growth coming from the Asia-Pacific region.

Jardine Fleming benefited from a recovery in the Japanese stock market, but Mr Keswick warned that after a 44 per cent rise in first-half profits, the second half would probably see a decline from last year's exceptional levels.

Jardine Strategic saw improvements in all three of its investments, although a 53 per cent increase in profits from Dairy Farm, owner of the Kwik Save chain in the UK, was largely due to a one-off property sale in Hong Kong.

Mandarin Oriental's Hong Kong hotels made up for mixed performances elsewhere. Hongkong Land, which owns 26 per cent of Trafalgar House, benefited from significant growth in office rents.

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