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Ashmore team sells shares as profits hit

EMERGING markets fund manager Ashmore unveiled a &pound;35.3m fast-track share placing that will see its employees reduce their holdings in the company by 2.2 per cent, as it reported a fall in full-year profits.<br /><br />The group said banking giants Goldman Sachs and UBS are to oversee the sale of 15.6m shares to institutional investors under an &ldquo;accelerated bookbuild&rdquo; at 226p per share.<br /><br />News of the share placing came as Ashmore reported pre-tax profits of &pound;159.8m in the year to end-June, compared to &pound;196.2m in the previous year, and said total net revenues fell 15 per cent to &pound;203.5m amid increasing costs of currency hedging.<br /><br />Finance director Graeme Dell said: &ldquo;Expect a slow recovery. It&rsquo;s not like you&rsquo;ll suddenly see the taps turn on because you are continuing to see people need liquidity.&rdquo; <br /><br />But chief executive Mark Coombs said &ldquo;initiatives&rdquo; are being developed that he expects &ldquo;will bring significant value over the coming years&rdquo;.<br /><br />Analysts were divided in their response to the results. KBC Peel Hunt and Evolution reiterated a &ldquo;Buy&rdquo; recommendation while Noble Group said Sell and Singer voiced frustration at the pace of recovery in money flows.<br /><br />Total net outflows of client investment for the year were $7.5bn (&pound;4.56bn), of which $5.8bn came in the first half.<br /><br />Shares of the firm dived by more than five per cent on the results and share placing news, before recovering to a modest gain in later trading.<br />