* H1 revenue 182.7 mln stg (2012: 169 mln)
* H1 profit before tax 95.1 mln stg (2012: 81.1 mln)
* Interim dividend of 5.75 pence/share (2012: 5.75p/share)
By Clare Hutchison
LONDON, Jan 14 Signs of economic recovery have
renewed confidence among retail investors who have begun trading
more, British financial spread betting firm IG Group
said on Tuesday as it reported an 8 percent rise in first half
IG Chief Executive Tim Howkins said market conditions in the
six months to Nov. 30 were much like the same period in 2012,
but this time around clients were much more active.
"That reflects the fact that consumer sentiment is picking
up. The world is slowly emerging from recession, people are
feeling a bit wealthier, a bit happier and therefore, more
likely to trade," Howkins told Reuters.
"(Confidence) is coming back slowly and steadily. It's
certainly in a better place than it was 18 months ago."
IG, which allows investors to speculate on the future price
of securities or baskets of securities, said first-half revenue
was 182.7 million pounds ($299.3 million), compared with 169
million pounds the prior year.
Shares in the company were up 1.4 percent at 635 pence at
1000 GMT, compared with a 0.7 percent drop in the FTSE 250
IG said its efforts to focus attention on more active
clients who produce a greater share of revenue, such as raising
minimum deposits and creating a more personalised service for
its most valuable users, had also started to bear fruit.
Revenue per client, a key measure of performance, was up 13
percent in the first half and Howkins said the number of low
activity clients had fallen dramatically.
Higher revenue sent profit before tax up 17 percent to 95.1
million pounds, versus 81.1 million a year earlier, IG said.
Europe performed particularly strongly, producing a 25
percent rise in revenue in the first half.
Howkins said financial transaction taxes (FTTs) introduced
in France and Italy had had minimal impact on IG's business so
He said IG continued to monitor discussions on a European
FTT, which were progressing "slowly and somewhat opaquely", and
recommended that a simple tax, with a narrow scope and an
exchange-based collection mechanism, similar to the French tax,
would be easier for the participant countries to agree on.
IG, which operates in 16 countries and has made geographical
expansion a key element of its long-term strategy, said new
markets would be the main driver of growth over the next 12
The company said plans to open a Swiss office were now in an
advanced stage and there were ongoing detailed discussions with
the regulator in another unidentified jurisdiction.
IG also expects future growth to come from its
diversification into cash equities. It is currently testing a
stock broking service and said it was on track to launch it in
Britain in the second half of the 2014 calendar year.
Citi analyst Hugo Mills said in a note to clients that
traction in these new initiatives, as well as increased market
volatility, could drive upside potential for IG's share price.
IG proposed a dividend of 5.75 pence per share, flat on the
same period a year earlier.