ICAP in rude health after record profit

THE world&rsquo;s leading inter-dealer broker ICAP enjoyed record profits in 2008, it said yesterday, netting chief executive Michael Spencer &pound;23.5m on his holding in the company.<br /><br />Pre-tax profit was up two per cent on the previous year, rising from &pound;330m to &pound;346m excluding one-off items, on the back of soaring revenues, which were up 23 per cent to &pound;1.6bn.<br /><br />The company also raised its full year dividend by nine per cent to 17.05p a share, helping Spencer to a &pound;23.5m windfall on his 138m shares, &pound;2m more than he earned from last year&rsquo;s dividend.<br /><br />Spencer said: &ldquo;These are resilient results against the backdrop of the most extraordinary financial upheavals experienced across the globe during the past 12 months.&rdquo;<br /><br />&ldquo;We have consolidated our position as the leading global intermediary in the wholesale over-the-counter (OTC) markets by a clear margin,&rdquo; he added.<br /><br />The company estimates that its marketplace has grown in worth by three per cent to around &pound;8.1bn, of which ICAP occupies between 21 and 23 per cent.<br /><br />ICAP&rsquo;s stellar performance was helped by acquisitions and a &pound;44m investment in new businesses, but Spencer hinted at further purchases, saying that the company was &ldquo;well positioned to take advantage of the significant restructuring of the financial services industry&rdquo;.<br /><br />ICAP, alongside 11 banks, is part of a consortium putting together a bid of around &1119;839m (&pound;738m) for the clearing house LCH.Clearnet, a move that would give it part control of the leading clearer of over-the-counter derivatives.