Singer & Friedlander writes down portfolio

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SINGER & FRIEDLANDER, the small merchant bank, has been forced by the new accounting standard to write down the value of its property portfolio by pounds 5.3m to about pounds 73m, writes Rupert Bruce.

This reflects a fall in the value of its property portfolio since the last revaluation in 1989.

Anthony Solomons, chairman, said the exceptional item was 'a nonsense of the accounting standards', and particularly unfortunate because the properties were almost fully let with negligible arrears and there was no present intention of making disposals.

Pre-tax profit for the six months to 30 June fell to pounds 3.3m, down from pounds 8.1m. But Mr Solomons preferred to highlight the pre-tax profit before exceptional items, which rose to pounds 8.5m from pounds 8.1m.

Banking profits rose to pounds 4.8m from pounds 4.3m despite quiet market conditions. Property profits rose to pounds 1.4m from pounds 1.3m as rent reviews came through and interest rates fell.

Earnings per share fell to 0.50p from 2.59p. But earnings per share before the exceptional item were 3.08p. There is an unchanged interim dividend of 1p per share.

Barclays de Zoete Wedd, broker, forecasts 1992 pre-tax profits at pounds 15.6m and 1993 at pounds 15.1m. The net asset value per share has risen by 9 per cent to 84p since June 1991. The shares rose 1.5p to 36p.