March 12, 2013 / 7:41 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Close Brothers profit rises on strong banking performance

LONDON, March 12 (Reuters) - British financial services group Close Brothers reported a 26 percent increase in first-half operating profit on Tuesday, supported by growth at its core banking division.

Adjusted operating profit was 79.8 million pounds ($118.9 million) in the six months to end-Jan for the group, whose services include merchant banking, securities dealing and wealth management.

Its Winterflood securities unit reported adjusted operating profit of 7.4 million pounds, down from 8.4 million in 2012.

The group blamed subdued trading activity and low risk appetite among retail investors for the results at its securities business, but said its outlook for the rest of the year was positive.

The board declared an interim dividend per share of 15 pence, a 7 percent increase.

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