Prof­its fall at bro­ker Nu­mis af­ter rise in staff num­bers

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Lucy Burton

PROF­ITS at City bro­ker Nu­mis Se­cu­ri­ties plunged 17pc for the year to Septem­ber as a hir­ing spree meant it failed to cash in on a rise in M&A ac­tiv­ity.

The com­pany, whose clients in­clude As­ton Martin and Asos, said that ex­tra hir­ing costs and “a year of in­vest­ment” meant prof­its fell to £31.6m, de­spite ad­vi­sory fees shoot­ing up 21pc due to a boom in takeovers.

The busi­ness has tra­di­tion­ally won work on list­ings but in re­cent years has re­fo­cused its ef­forts on M&A, which gen­er­ates lu­cra­tive fees and is an area pre­vi­ously dom­i­nated by big banks and spe­cial­ist bou­tiques.

Co-chief ex­ec­u­tive Alex Ham, who at 35 is among the youngest bosses in the City, said that the listing mar­ket had “got a bit tougher” and the rise in ad­vi­sory fees “does re­flect a slight re-em­pha­sis from us” to­wards ac­qui­si­tions.

This year Nu­mis ad­vised Mi­cro Fo­cus on the £1.9bn sale of its soft­ware busi­ness to EQT Part­ners, French Con­nec­tion on the sale of its stake in re­tail brand Toast, and Trin­ity Mir­ror on its bid for Richard Des­mond’s North­ern & Shell pub­lish­ing ti­tles.

The group also ad­vised on lux­ury car maker As­ton Martin’s ini­tial pub­lic of­fer­ing, which dis­ap­pointed the mar­ket and caused a num­ber of com­pa­nies wait­ing in the wings to put their float plans on hold.

Mr Ham said that the busi­ness was not in­ter­ested in go­ing down the M&A route it­self. A num­ber of smaller City bro­kers are be­lieved to be eye­ing up a sale as the sec­tor strug­gles with fall­ing com­mis­sions, a volatile mar­ket and in­creased costs linked to new reg­u­la­tions.

Nu­mis told in­vestors that av­er­age head­count in­creased 15pc as a re­sult of hir­ing across the com­pany.

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