Fleming rises by 59%

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The Independent Online
ROBERT Fleming, the privately-owned merchant bank, increased pre-tax profits by 59 per cent in the year to 31 March, but its chief executive, Peter Manser, said the results were only 'satisfactory'.

The group's pre-tax profits, after transfers to inner reserves, rose from pounds 48.2m to pounds 76.6m and its disclosed capital resources soared from pounds 363m to pounds 410m.

This is the first time Fleming has disclosed its pre-tax profits. Mr Manser said it would not reveal its inner reserves until 1994, when it will be forced to do so by a European Community directive.

The increase came despite a difficult year in the Far East, where Fleming operates through its joint venture, Jardine Fleming. Mr Manser said that, despite an inflow of new funds to manage for clients and skilful use of derivatives, the group was not immune to the general malaise affecting the Japanese market.

Like other small lenders, however, the group has built up its loan book, taking advantage of higher margins as many foreign banks have pulled out of the British market. It increased its loan book from pounds 782m to pounds 900m in the past year.

The group's corporate finance department had a good year and expects a better one this year as it is managing the share offer for Wellcome, the pharmaceutical group. Mr Manser said the group's UK stockbroking operation was still not making a profit.

Fleming owns Save & Prosper, the retail fund manager, which had a good year selling personal equity plans. Fleming's Luxembourg-based operation also did well. The group's wholesale fund management side has won business in the US and Canada.