Christies payout lowered

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The Independent Online
CHRISTIES International, the art auctioneer, has cut its interim dividend to reflect the current state of the market, writes Rupert Bruce.

The payout is down to 0.5p compared with 2.3p in the first half of last year. That means the dividend is now covered by earnings per share of 0.7p. Last year earnings of 0.98p did not cover it.

David Tyler, group finance director, said the cut reflected Christies' belief that, although the art market had stabilised, it would take some time to recover.

Turnover was boosted by private treaty sales in the six months to 30 June. It was marginally higher at pounds 51.4m against pounds 50.6m.

But pre-tax profit suffered from lower interest income and fell to pounds 2.1m compared with pounds 3m.

Interest income fell as a result of a decline in cash deposits and interest rates.

The shares fell 3p to 105p.

Christies confirmed that Sir Anthony Tennant, outgoing Guinness chairman, would succeed Lord Carrington as chairman after next May's annual meeting.