F&C reports £19.5m loss after tax

F&C has reported a £19.5m loss after tax for the first six months of 2010.

The fall compares with a loss of £8.7m in the first half of last year, while the group has also reported a £2.5 billion fall in assets under management to £95.3 billion.

F&C has attributed the fall to a drop in the value of the euro against sterling, which it says reduced its assets under management by £4.9 billion.

The group has also cut its interim dividend from 2p to 1p a share. It says this decision will enable the group to free up cash to reduce net debt over the medium-term.

F&C says the £19.5m loss was owing to a number of factors such as redundancies and the acquisition of boutique investment house Thames River.

The group says the exceptional net costs total £11.1m. These principally comprised corporate advisory fees of £9.8 million—£7.9m of which were in relation to the imminent acquisition of Thames River—and expenses of £3.3m relating to the put option claim by the minority interest partners in F&C Partners LLP. 

F&C has so far put £2.4m in relation to the legal action, which came about after the founder members of F&C Partners sought to use put options to sell their majority stake. (article continues below)

The group says £1.4m of staff related redundancies and other staff related costs were incurred in the first six months of 2010 as a result of a cost saving exercise across the business.

Alan Grisay, the chief executive of F&C, says: “Our three key strategic priorities are to accelerate revenue growth, manage the cost base to create greater flexibility and to strengthen our capital position through the progressive reduction of debt funded in part through a reduced dividend. By focusing on these priorities we will ensure the business remains robust under the various scenarios that could emerge as the long-term contracts with our insurance partners come to the end of their exclusivity periods in the years ahead and we look to extend those relationships.

“The acquisition of Thames River Capital, to be completed imminently, is a core component of our plan. Thames River is already performing well as a standalone business, with £381 million of net sales year-to-date, and we believe that as part of the F&C group there will be considerable cross-selling opportunities. Thames River will enhance both our product and distribution capabilities, enabling us to accelerate the shift in our growth profile.”