Close Brothers Group plc (LON:CBG) today issued its scheduled pre-close trading update ahead of its 2019 financial year end. Close Brothers will be releasing its results for the full year ending 31 July 2019 on 24 September 2019.
All statements in this release relate to the 11 months to 30 June 2019 and to continuing operations1 in that period unless otherwise indicated.
Group and divisional performance
The group has continued to deliver a solid performance given current mixed trading conditions.
The Banking division remains focused on maintaining pricing and underwriting discipline, and continued investment in our businesses for the long term.
The loan book grew 5.1% year to date, reaching £7.6 billion as at 30 June 2019 (1 August 2018: £7.2 billion2). Commercial delivered good growth across the portfolio. Solid growth in Retail was mainly driven by Premium Finance, with a modest increase in Motor. The Property loan book remained broadly flat.
The bad debt ratio remained low with continued strong credit performance across the business. A combination of lower fee income and ongoing higher cost of funds has resulted in a slight reduction in net interest margin, at 7.8% year to date (2018: 8.0%).
The Asset Management division achieved good net inflows in a period of subdued client activity, but profitability continues to reflect lower market levels for most of the year and ongoing investment spend to support its long-term growth potential. Managed assets increased 9% to £11.3 billion at 30 June 2019 (31 July 2018: £10.4 billion) and total client assets grew 6% to £12.9 billion at 30 June 2019 (31 July 2018: £12.2 billion).
Winterflood delivered solid profitability throughout the period, although trading volumes remained low. The division remains focused on maximising its trading opportunities in all market conditions and performed broadly in line with the first half overall.
While current trading conditions are mixed, we remain well positioned for the long term.
1 Results from continuing operations exclude the unsecured retail point of sale finance business, which was classified as a discontinued operation in the group’s 2018 financial statements.
2 The opening net loan book of £7,239 million reflects the adoption of IFRS 9 at 1 August 2018. For further details see the group’s IFRS 9 transition document published on 7 November 2018.