Aberdeen shares jump on further cost cuts

Harriet Green
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This morning, Aberdeen Asset Management confirmed it’s completed its acquisition of Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP) for £550m.

As part of the sale, the group is issuing 125.85m new ordinary shares to Lloyds Banking Group, 108m of which have been issued today, plus a deferred top-up payment of £39.4m, which is payable at the end of a 12-month period after the completion.

Shares have jumped over six per cent this morning, despite mixed news in a separate trading update.

Source: Google

The FTSE 100 asset manager’s revealed it has £186.5bn assets under management at 28 February - down from £193.6bn on 31 December 2013 - hit by continuing weakness in emerging markets.

The difficult market conditions during the period are reflected in net outflows from our Asia Pacific and emerging market equities products, but we have seen continued steady inflows to our emerging market debt, high yield bond and property capabilities.

Chief executive Martin Gilbert says that Aberdeen has, therefore, been making further cost cuts, with savings "identified and implemented". This'll hopefully safeguard earnings against current revenue pressures, says Numis, commenting on the results.

Equity outflows from emerging markets rose to £4.7bn in the five months to 14 February, from £2.4bn in the three months to December 2013.

Poorer emerging markets performance has been compensated for by better than anticipated results across other areas, though.

Gross new business globally was at 4bn in the two months, and estimated net outflows were at -£200m in March. This second figure's encouraging, as in January and February net outflows hit -£3.9bn.

The firm says it’s seen a strong pipeline of business awarded, although not funded.

Gilbert comments:

Conditions in emerging markets remain subdued, and we have therefore identified and are implementing some cost savings, over and above the synergies we expect from the SWIP transaction.

However, we will not change our long-term approach to investment.

Numis has reiterated its hold recommendation on stock, saying the earnings growth outlook is now lower than it was then. "We still expect dividend growth to outpace earnings growth, but think the current valuation mostly reflects this."