March 14 (Reuters) - British lender Close Brothers Group reported a 21 percent rise in first-half adjusted operating profit, driven by strength in its core banking business and higher trading income from market maker Winterflood.
The merchant banking group, which provides loans, wealth management and securities trading services, said on Tuesday adjusted operating profit rose to 134.2 million pounds ($162.87 million) for the six months to January 31 from 111.2 million a year earlier.
The company also said Mike Biggs is to become chairman effective May 1, succeeding Strone Macpherson, who confirmed his intention to step down effective April 30.
The loan book at Close Brothers' banking division rose to 6.5 billion pounds from 6.4 billion pounds at the end of July.
$1 = 0.8240 pounds Reporting by Justin George Varghese and Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; editing by Jason Neely