Spread better IG reports first half revenue up 8 percent
* H1 revenue 182.7 mln stg (2012: 169 mln)
* H1 profit before tax 95.1 mln stg (2012: 81.1 mln)
* Board proposes interim dividend of 5.75 pence/share (2012: 5.75p/share)
LONDON, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Financial spread betting firm IG Group said on Tuesday its first half revenue rose 8 percent thanks to a pickup in client activity early in the period.
The company, which allows investors to speculate on the future price of securities or baskets of securities, reported revenue of 182.7 million pounds ($299.3 million) for the six months to Nov. 30, compared with 169 million pounds a year earlier.
Profit before tax for the period was 17 percent higher at 95.1 million pounds, versus 81.1 million pounds.
Revenue in Britain was 7 percent ahead of the year earlier, though the number of active clients had dropped, reflecting the group's focus on attracting more valuable clients, Chief Executive Tim Howkins said.
IG, which currently operates in 16 countries, also said it planned to open a office in Switzerland.
Howkins said the new Swiss office, as well as increased market spend, would mean higher costs in the next six months, but the second half had started well.
IG proposed a dividend of 5.75 pence per share, flat on the same period a year earlier.
Shares in the FTSE 250 company closed at 627 pence on Monday, valuing the company at 2.3 billion pounds.
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