May 22, 2018 / 6:43 AM / a year ago

Asset rise boosts profits at specialist fund ICG, shares at record high

LONDON(Reuters) - Specialist fund manager Intermediate Capital Group (ICP.L) on Tuesday posted a 29 percent rise in full-year pretax profit at its fund management business, buoyed by a strong rise in its assets under management and taking its shares to record highs.

The company, which focuses on less liquid debt and equity investments, said total assets under management during the year to the end of March rose over 20 percent to 28.7 billion pounds, from 23.83 billion pounds.

Alternative asset classes are attracting investors because they offer higher returns than most mainstream assets in a low-interest rate environment.

An 21 percent increase in the fees charged to clients to invest in its funds helped pretax profit grow to 95.3 million pounds from 74 million pounds, ICG said in a statement.

Jefferies analysts said the profits came in ahead of their forecast and the company had got off to a “very strong start” this year in capital-raising. They reiterated their buy rating on the stock.

ICG said it had already raised 2.6 billion euros for its latest European fund and chief executive Benoit Durteste told Reuters the fund would reach its 4 billion euro target “in the near future”.

ICG is also looking to expand investment into new markets, Durteste said.

“We always keep an eye on new geographies, we are looking at a number, that includes Latin America,” he said, adding that there were no imminent additions.

The growth in pre-tax profit helped underpin an 11 percent increase in the total dividend for the year.

Intermediate Capital's shares rose 2.8 percent to 11.96 pounds at 0710 GMT, making it one of the top performers in the FTSE mid-cap index .FTMC.

Reporting by Carolyn Cohn and Simon Jessop in LONDON; Additonal reporting by Rahul B in BENGALURU, editing by Sinead Cruise

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