ShareLink profits surge by 143%: BT3 boosts share dealer's results

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The Independent Online
SHARELINK, the no-frills telephone share-dealing service, pleased the market with profits up 143 per cent to pounds 2.3m for the half- year to 30 September, nearly two- thirds of it due to BT3.

David Jones, chief executive, said ShareLink's progress since its float in July was not just down to privatisations. Although volumes grew by 46 per cent over the same period last year, the company's slice of the share-dealing market grew by 21 per cent and now stands at about a tenth of the market.

ShareLink stands to gain from any sale of the power generators, Mr Jones said. And the company is expanding into new issues. It is also getting involved in other fee-earning areas such as Peps, where funds under administration grew by 73 per cent to pounds 130m. Mr Jones aims to increase staff numbers at ShareLink's Birmingham offices from 350 to 400 by the year end.

The shares surged 12p to 399p in a nervous market. Turnover was up 45 per cent to pounds 8.8m and earnings per share rose 331 per cent to 16.07p.

The company announced an interim dividend of 3p net per share, one-fifth more than envisaged in the listing particulars. This gives a gross yield of 3.75 per cent and cover of two and a half times. ShareLink's normal 40/60 per cent profits bias towards the second half of the year will be counteracted by BT3.

Mr Jones said ShareLink was keen to broaden its revenue base. The traded options side has captured 15 per cent of the market since it was launched, he said. The company is also expanding into selling on investment information.

Mr Jones expects demand for the share-dealing service 'to remain buoyant'. He said he preferred organic growth to acquisitions. 'All new areas will have to fit our template. We've already identified some. They might prove a surprise.'

(Photograph omitted)

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