Belfast Telegraph

Aberdeen Asset Management interim profits plunge amid emerging markets rout

Fund group Aberdeen Asset Management saw interim profits nearly halve as it continued to suffer amid an emerging markets rout.

The firm said pre-tax profits tumbled to £98.8 million in the six months to March 31, down from £185.4 million a year earlier after investors continued to head for the exit.

Clients withdrew £38.2 billion in funds over the first half, or £16.7 billion on a net basis.

Aberdeen said the pace of outflows had "moderated slightly" , down from £41.7 billion in client cash pulled out in the previous six months, or £22.6 billion of net outflows.

But it cautioned it was still "vulnerable" to ongoing investor concerns over emerging markets, with sentiment knocked further in recent months by plunging oil and commodity prices.

Shares dropped by 8% after the half-year results.

Martin Gilbert, c hief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, said: " These results reflect the challenging conditions Aberdeen has faced during the past three years, in particular the weakness in emerging markets."

Chairman Roger Cornick added: "W e remain vulnerable to further outflows over the next few quarters as clients continue to react to the difficult conditions for performance over the last few years."

Aberdeen , which was demoted from the FTSE 100 Index of the UK's largest companies earlier this year, has seen its shares fall by nearly 40% in the past year despite rallying by 25% over the last three months.

Aberdeen has £292.8 billion worth of assets under management, down from £330.6 billion a year ago, although it marked an improvement on the £283.7 billion at its financial year-end.

But rival Schroders last week revealed it increased its assets under management by £11.4 billion to £324.9 billion during the first quarter after notching up net inflows of £2.7 billion.

Aberdeen has pledged to cut annual costs by £70 million by 2017 and has sought to diversify its asset exposure through small acquisitions.

During the group's first half, Aberdeen completed takeovers of hedge-fund manager Arden, risk-graded portfolio provider Parmenion, and fund-of-funds investment manager Advance.

Analysts at Liberum said there were signs of a tentative recovery despite continuing woes.

They said: "After three and a half years of net outflows, totalling £73.5 billion, the management team is understandably cautious."

They added: "But there are some signs of hope. The second consecutive quarter of slowing net outflows, the improvement in performance and the recent strengthening of the management team give cause for optimism."