Shore Capital profit doubles as interest rises in small and mid-size stocks

Reuters - UK Focus

* FY pretax profit 5.4 mln stg vs year before 2.5 mln

* FY revenue up 9 percent to 35.8 mln stg

* To pay final dividend of 4p/shr, takes total to 8p

* Shares up 2.8 pct

LONDON, March 17 (Reuters) - British investment banking boutique Shore Capital Group Plc said full-year pretax profit more than doubled on the back of increasing interest in the small and mid-sized stocks in which it specialises.

Shore, which provides research and corporate broking services and is the third-largest market-maker of equities on the London Stock Exchange (Other OTC: LDNXF - news) by number of stocks traded, reported pretax profit of 5.4 million pounds ($9 million), compared with 2.5 million a year earlier.

Full-year revenue in the year to Dec. 31 increased 9 percent to 35.8 million pounds, the company said on Monday.

Shore's equity capital markets division made a profit of 6 million pounds, up almost a fifth from the year before, after working on deals including two flotations, one reverse takeover and a transfer to the LSE's AIM junior stock market.

Commissions from share trading remained strong, the company said, adding that a rule change allowing investors to hold AIM stocks in individual saving accounts (ISAs) - which give limited tax-free saving - had helped drive volumes.

Executive Chairman Howard Shore told Reuters the business had gained good momentum which had carried on into 2014.

Earlier this year Shore participated in the stock market listings of retailer Poundland and Circassia Pharmaceuticals and a 326 million pound secondary placing on behalf of the largest shareholder in betting software company Playtech (LSE: PTEC.L - news) .

Shore said the company had a strong pipeline of prospective business and would add senior, experienced personnel to its corporate finance team where there are opportunities for growth. The technology, pharmaceuticals and biotech sectors were likely to see further developments, he added.

The company's asset management arm reported funds under management of 880 million pounds, up slightly from 870 million the year before.

Shore said it would pay a final dividend of 4p per share to take the full-year total to 8p, compared with 5p in 2012. The figure was adjusted to reflect a share reorganisation that took place in December.

Shares of Shore were up 10p or 2.8 percent by 0914 GMT.