London Forfaiting reports 20% advance

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The Independent Online
LONDON Forfaiting, the trade finance business, increased pre-tax profits last year by 20 per cent to pounds 18m. Jack Wilson, the new chairman, said it was benefiting from competitors, mainly banks, pulling in their horns.

'We have had a good year and are firmly of the view that the continuing development of our international network of offices will lead to solid progress,' he said.

London Forfaiting is the world's leading trader in debt owed to exporters in one country by importers in another. It buys debt from exporters who are keen to convert their credit into cash and sells it on to other investors, making a turn on the deal.

As a result of its overseas expansion, it is busy recruiting new staff. A New York office opened a year ago, and last month London's first representative office in Eastern Europe was set up in Prague.

'The Czech Republic has always been an exporter of capital goods and we expect the recent privatisation of large sections of industry to encourage further development,' Mr Wilson said.

Karen Neill, of the house broker BZW, is forecasting pre-tax profits of pounds 19.5m this year, blaming the slowdown in profits growth on the cost of expansion. The shares have risen nearly 60 per cent since last August and now stand at a 50 per cent premium to net assets.

Earnings per share were 19 per cent higher at 13.75p and a final dividend of 5.5p makes a total of 8.4p, a 10 per cent increase.