Panmure sees a recovery in Britain and US

STOCKBROKER Panmure Gordon has drawn a line under a tough first six months of 2010 to report a “significant improvement” in trading in the second half, it said yesterday.

Its businesses on both sides of the Atlantic had reported operating profits despite “continued challenging trading conditions”, it said.

The update will hearten investors after a torrid first half in which total income shrank to £17.1m, from £28.4m the previous year, and it posted a £6.05m pre-tax loss.

It also vindicates Panmure’s rebuttal of an unsolicited takeover bid from larger rival Evolution Securities last September on the grounds that it was independently successful.

Panmure chief executive Tim Linacre said that while he felt the results could still improve, Panmure “had a better end to 2010 than we had expected or feared” and “ended the year with more momentum than expected.”

Linacre said the year had been “a long hard slog” and he anticipated a further slow start to 2011 as a spike in corporate debt refinancing and the effect of the government’s austerity measures hold back the market.

The US business performance was “encouraging” but “we hope to see a much better performance in 2011,” he added.

Panmure’s UK second-half performance bounced as it completed a number of client fundraising, M&A advisory and restructuring transactions. It also won 22 new corporate clients over the year, taking its total roster to 73.

Its US investment banking business also took off, generating full-year revenue of more than five times that recorded in the first half of the year.

“Both the UK and the US investment banking businesses have a good pipeline of deals for 2011,” it said.