Profits up at Close Bros

INVESTMENT bank Close Brothers grew its pre-tax profit by five per cent and funds under management by a fifth to £8.3bn in the six months to January 2011, it said yesterday.

Banking division profits – its core activity – rose by a third as it extended more lending, pushing its loan book up nine per cent to £3.2bn.

First-half operating profit increased to £65.4m from £62m in the same period in 2009. But its asset management division, currently being restructured, made a £4m loss and the group took a £24.7m writedown on the £29.1m sale of its offshore fund administration company.

Chief executive Preben Prebensen said he expected “a good performance in the second half of the year with a modest improvement in bad debts”.