Profits soar at Brewin

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The Independent Online
BREWIN DOLPHIN, one of Britain's leading private client portfolio managers, pleased the markets with pre-tax profits that nearly doubled to pounds 2.55m for the half- year, writes John Willcock.

John Hall, managing director, said that the figures, coupled with the advent of 10-day rolling settlement yesterday, put the company - which was floated last month - in a strong position to recruit individuals and teams or even acquire regional firms.

'We are sticking to our knitting. We are definitely looking for the right sort of people,' Mr Hall said.

The company's shares rose 5p to 144p as the market digested the figures, which included the first full six months from the Scottish stockbroker Bell Lawrie which Brewin Dolphin bought 16 months ago.

Mr Hall said the first quarter was particularly strong and the business had benefited from roughly 100 clients a week transferring from the company's advisory services to full discretionary management.

Mr Hall said that although the company was not as exposed to choppy stock market conditions as other private-client stockbrokers, the worsening conditions in the second quarter hit the advisory and execution-only part of its business. Profits were still ahead of the same period last year, he added.

Total income for the half-year to 17 June 1994 rose by 46 per sent to pounds 16.8m, and group operating profit rose to pounds 2.4m from pounds 1.6m. Earnings per share before exceptional items climbed 12.5 per cent and by 55 per cent after exceptionals. A second interim dividend of 1p per share will be paid on 1 October. A first interim dividend was paid before the float.

Staff numbers have fallen below 400 from a peak of 420, due to the rationalisation of the Bell Lawrie operation. The proportion of staff holding shares in the company has fallen from 85 per cent before the float to 60 per cent. The rest of the shares are held by 3i and Baronsmead, while Midland Bank holds warrants.