St James's Place close to Asian acquisition
* EEV new business profit up 18 pct at 327 mln stg
* EEV operating profit up 26 pct at 462.7 mln stg
* FY div up 50 pct at 15.96 pence
LONDON, Feb 25 (Reuters) - British investment manager St James's Place is close to making an acquisition in Asia as part of an overseas expansion aimed at establishing a new client base of expatriates.
In a statement on Tuesday, the company said it is in "advanced talks" to acquire an adviser business and expects to reach agreement early in 2014.
"We are close to completing the acquisition of a well respected adviser business which has an existing team of advisers in Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai", the company said.
St James's Place, which currently provides financial advice and fund management services to well heeled UK-based retail clients also announced a 50 percent increase in its 2013 dividend and said it expects a further 30-40 percent hike in 2014.
Operating profit on an EEV basis was 462.7 million pounds, up 26 percent, the company said.