Ambrian swings to loss but is buoyed by China

 
Steve Dinneen
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Investment bank and broker Ambrian Capital swung to a first-half pre-tax loss as weak market conditions hurt its corporate finance and equities unit.

The company, which provides corporate finance, stock broking and commodity trading services, said its January to June pre-tax loss was £196,000, compared with a profit of £2.3m a year ago.

Total income fell 21.8 per cent to £7.9m, while net asset value per share fell 3.5 per cent from 2009 to 32.4p.

The firm’s corporate finance and equities unit had a pre-tax loss of £1.8m, compared with a profit of £200,000.

Personnel and recruitment costs at the unit rose due to efforts to diversify from its reliance on the Aim natural resources sector.

It said it was cautious for the second half of the year, although trading is picking up in some sectors.

However, the company added its commodities business would benefit from buoyant demand for refined copper from China.

Analysts on average expect a full-year pre-tax profit of £2.1m on revenue of £17m.

Last month Ambrian announced it had acquired Masefield Biofuels, which focuses on biodiesel produced from palm oil for an undisclosed price.