Close Brothers to pay a dividend again as trading booms

Business

PROFITS crashed at Close Brothers, but the merchant bank said its trading arm had a record year allowing it to reinstate the dividend suspended back in April.

While profits tumbled 47% to £141 million, new chief executive Adrian Sainsbury – today is his first day in the job – said the company is confident about the future.

Impairment charges for bad debts jumped from £48.5 million to £184 million, largely due to new accounting rules.

But Winterflood, the market maker, saw profits soar 140% to £48 million an investors took punts on shares.

Winterflood handles up to 30% of the FTSE 100 traffic most days for clients which include Hargreaves Lansdown.

A final dividend of 40p will be paid.

Sainsbury, who has been with the company seven years, said: “The impact of Covid-19 has been felt across our businesses and the outlook is still uncertain, but the fundamental strengths of Close Brothers remain unchanged.”

Thousands of SME customers took holidays on loans, but 70% of them are now back making payments.

Close has 30 offices around the country. The ones in the City are now 30% full as staff return.

The shares slipped 1p to 961p which leaves the bank valued at £1.5 billion.