Private bank Arbuthnot returns to first-half profit

Arbuthnot Banking Group posted half-year pre-tax profits of £2.5m for the first six months of 2017, almost entirely reversing a £2.4m loss over the same period last year.

Profits were driven by an estimated £2.1m income from the group’s 18.6 per cent share of Secure Trust Bank (STB), the British retail and commercial bank, Arbuthnot reported.

Net assets were down compared with the first half of 2016, falling from £282m to £234m as of June 30.

However, Arbuthnot said this was due to “a payment of a £44m special dividend and the final dividend for 2016”. Accordingly, net assets per share fell to £15.33 from £18.52 at the end of June last year.

Earnings per share were also down, falling to 17p from £11.11 at the same time last year, the figures for which included “the impact of the gains arising on the sale of Everyday Loans and the deconsolidation of STB”, the group said.

Sir Henry Angest, chairman and chief executive of Arbuthnot, said:

The group has made good progress in its plans to diversify, the Renaissance Asset Finance acquisition has been completed and the Commercial Banking business is gaining momentum. It is also pleasing to see customer deposits and assets under management pass the significant milestone of £1bn for the first time.

However, with uncertain economic and political times ahead we remain cautious in our decision-making.