ICG profits up in squeeze

SHARES in buyout lender Intermediate Capital Group shot up nearly 10 per cent yesterday after it posted forecast-beating first-half profit and said it should benefit from tighter credit market conditions.

The stock closed up 9.13 per cent at 228.4p, although it is still down by a third in the year to date.

Pre-tax profit for the six months to 30 September rose 3.5 per cent to £108.8m, compared to the £81.09m expected. Earnings per share rose 25.5 per cent to 21.6p.

Christophe Evain, chief executive, said: “As the majority of traditional lenders continue to retrench from the credit market, we also see considerable opportunities emerging to acquire debt at attractive discounts in a distressed market, to provide finance to existing buyouts to restructure their overgeared balance sheet and to offer reliable financing solutions for new transactions, thereby delivering high returns to our institutional investors.”

The company’s first-half earnings are “well above” expectations, said analysts at Oriel Securities. ICG’s stock has been held back this year by exposure to Eurozone assets in ICG’s investment portfolio, it added