Aberdeen delivers full year profits in line with expectations (UK)

Investment company Aberdeen Asset Management plc said pre-tax profits before exceptionals and goodwill for the year to 30 September 2004 came in at £15.1m, up from £5m one year earlier, and in line with consensus forecasts.

Turnover for the year stood at 140 mln stg, down from 142.3 mln stg last time.

After exceptional costs and goodwill, the company incurred a loss of 87.6 mln stg, up sharply from the previous year´s loss of 6.4 mln stg.

Aberdeen added that it would pay a second interim dividend of 2.0 pence per share, bringing the total annual dividend to 4.0 pence per share, unchanged from the previous year.

The company, one of 18 firms that last month agreed to pay 194 mln stg in compensation to investors who lost money in split-capital investment trusts, said the settlement will allow it to focus once again on growing its business.

Aberdeen estimated its total contribution to the settlement at 74 mln stg. This comprises a 35 mln stg payment towards a central compensation fund set up by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), and a further 39 mln stg payment to investors who lost money in the Aberdeen Progressive Unit Trust.

Aberdeen said the episode had had a 'huge' impact on its business, estimating its legal and other expenses at about 7 mln stg.

About 50,000 private investors incurred some 600 mln stg in losses through investing in split-capital investment trusts, which had often been marketed as a 'safe' investment. Last month´s compensation agreement came after nine months of negotiations between the companies involved in marketing split-caps and the FSA.

Chief executive Martin Gilbert said the company, which completed a restructuring last year after being hit hard by the stock market downturn of 2000-2003, now faces a more secure future.

'We are well positioned to continue the progress we have made and return to a pattern of sustained, profitable growth and I am confident we are well on the way to improving shareholder returns,' he said in a statement.

Source: Freeman News

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