Arden in £1m bonus payout as profits rise

David Hellier
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ARDEN Partners, the publicly-quoted stockbroker, is paying out up to £1m in bonuses after reporting profits of £2.2m, up from £2.1m in the previous year.

Arden still does not know whether it will be caught by the government’s recent supertax on bank bonuses, which it estimates would cost it a maximum of £200,000. It will pay the bonuses regardless of the tax issue.

It has joined forces with a group of other City brokers to argue that it should not be subject to the new tax, since the broking sector as a whole never had any need of government cash.

The group indicated yesterday that it is considering opening an office in Singapore and quite possibly one in India, where it advises a growing number of companies.

Arden said it had increased client brokerships from 30 to 39 and had completed 16 transactions during the year. Revenue from equities grew by 31 per cent.

Jonathan Keeling, the group’s chief executive, said: “The current year has started satisfactorily and Arden has to date raised some £111m for corporate clients. We have relocated our main office to 125 Old Broad Street which provides the space and infrastructure for future growth.”

Arden says it has been able to recruit clients and staff from some of the investment banks that have recently been exiting the small to mid-cap sector.

It is not paying a dividend, preferring instead to invest in growth areas of the business.

Chris McMahon of Altium Securities was cautiously optimistic after the results, saying: “Arden has published preliminary results for the full year 2009 showing a strong improvement in profitability in the second half and a year end cash position of £10.5m.

“Our estimates are largely unchanged at this point but we see scope for upgrades once market conditions improve.

The shares closed at 107.5p, up 2.5p.