Underlying performance was boosted by profits from exceptional items of pounds 12m arising from the group's sales of its holdings in ACT and Burford Group, less a further writedown of pounds 3.9m on Singer's property portfolio. This compared with a downgrading of pounds 10.1m in 1992.
In view of the improved profits, Singer is proposing an increase in the dividend for the year of more than 15 per cent from 2.6p to 3p.
Anthony Solomans, group chairman, says that in spite of a difficult market the banking department has increased the total of advances and acceptances. 'This has largely been achieved by having banking teams in our main provincial offices able to concentrate s,' he said.
On the corporate finance front he said the group had continued its traditional role of advising medium-sized companies. 'During 1993 the division continued to expand its client base and acquired a number of new clients, both private and public companies,' he added.
The banking group Guinness Peat has declared pre-tax profits of pounds 27.69m compared with pounds 7.75m for a 15- month period, although no dividend has yet been declared. A dividend payment would be 'seriously considered' in 1995, said Ron Brierley, chairman.
'The balance sheet is strong with good liquidity and negligible indebtedness,' Mr Brierley added.