LCG's profits fall but client numbers rise

SPREAD betting firm London Capital Group (LCG) yesterday reported its first drop in profits since it listed in 2005, as lower interest income, higher costs and tough trading conditions took their toll.<br /><br />For the six months to the end of June its pre-tax profit fell 37 per cent to &pound;3.8m from a year ago on sales that rose four per cent to &pound;13m.<br /><br />But the firm, which also offers foreign exchange and broking services, said it would grow in the second half by launching an international contracts for difference (CFDs) trading platform.<br /><br />The business expects the new platform to boost revenue considerably, especially in Australia, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.<br /><br />Chief executive Frank Chapman said: &ldquo;Although the first half of the year has been disappointing for us, we have recently seen signs of increased activity with less range bound trading, which is favourable to the group, and accordingly we are more optimistic about the second half of the year.&rdquo;<br /><br />LCG, whose brands include Capital Spreads,said 11,388 customers had opened betting accounts in the first half of the year, up 71 per cent on the same period in 2008.<br /><br />It reported a 59 per cent rise in the average number of trades carried out per day to 26,208. And it said UK client assets have risen 22 per cent to &pound;27.31m over the last year.<br /><br />LCG added it was debt free with cash of &pound;8.2m.