City broker KBC Peel Hunt defies slump

KBC Peel Hunt (KBCPH), the mid-cap broker, yesterday declared a surge in first-half profits and reported it was snapping up market share in the downturn.<br /><br />The City firm said it has doubled its net revenues to &pound;24m for the six months to 30 June, compared to &pound;11.5m for the same period last year.<br /><br />In its first ever trading statement KBCPH reported that it has raised more than &pound;700m for clients&nbsp; over the year to date; a stark jump from the &pound;195m raised in the whole of 2008.<br /><br />The group has acted as a broker and underwriter on the&nbsp; two largest secondary fundraisings on Aim market since 2007, including raising &pound;200m for Hansteen, &pound;226m for property firm London &amp; Stamford, &pound;105m for Speedyhire and &pound;31m for&nbsp; leisure company Holidaybreak. The group also advised on Vincent Tchenguiz&rsquo;s high-profile involvement with Bramdean Alternatives.<br /><br />Despite London trading volumes tumbling KBC Peel Hunt reports its volumes have more than trebled. <br /><br />&ldquo;We are very pleased with these results in the context of tough trading conditions. We are taking significant steps towards achieving our aim of being the leading investment bank in the small and mid-cap market,&rdquo; said Simon Hayes, chief executive.<br /><br />Belgium&rsquo;s second-biggest financial group, KBC Bank, bought Peel Hunt&nbsp; in 2000 in a &pound;219m cash deal.&nbsp; <br /><br />KBC received &euro;7bn (&pound;6bn) in state aid this year, but surprised investors in July by returning to profit&nbsp; in the second quarter after three straight quarterly losses.