* Underlying earnings per share up 66 pct in first-half
* Net revenue up 4.8 pct to 126.1 million pounds
* Group underlying pretax profit 37.3 mln pounds
LONDON, July 31 (Reuters) - British fund firm F&C Asset Management reported an increase in underlying profit, lifted by robust management and performance fee revenues and an ongoing cost cutting programme.
F&C said in a trading statement on Wednesday that its underlying operating margin rose to 37.6 percent in its half year to June 30, from 26.8 percent a year earlier.
Chief Executive Richard Wilson attributed a 66 percent increase in earnings per share to falling running costs and revenues lifted by the retail, consumer and third party businesses and performance fees at a property fund.
“These are solid results which demonstrate the significant progress being made in delivering the company’s strategic objectives,” Wilson said.
F&C underwent significant restructuring during 2012, including a new management team with Wilson appointed CEO from his previous post leading the institutional and investment business.
Wilson said in the earnings statement a cost reduction programme remains “on track” to deliver a 48.8 million pounds ($74.5 million) savings target by 2015.
Assets under management stood at 92.3 billion pounds, down from 98.2 billion pounds a year earlier reflecting the impact of a previously announced withdrawal of 6 billion pounds in fixed income assets at the end of June by Friends Life.
Buoyant equity markets added 1.1 billion pounds to assets over the six months period, F&C said.