IFG ‘confident’ of meeting earnings target

MANAGEMENT at financial services group IFG said yesterday that they remained confident the business would meet previously stated full-year targets of between 18c and 20c in terms of earnings per share for this year.

Earnings per share amounted to 22.77c last year. Back in March, IFG reported full-year figures for 2008, which showed revenues of €109 million and operating profit of €20m – figures which the group’s management said represented “solid and satisfactory progress”.

“Overall performance shows the resilience of the businesses despite the market volatility, pressure on margins in the international division, changes in the UK pension legislation and the well-documented difficulties in the Irish market,” group chairman Joe Moran told shareholders yesterday at the group’s annual general meeting in Dublin.

However, Mr Moran added that market conditions remain challenging and demanding.

He told shareholders: “As you are all aware, market conditions for all businesses are presently very difficult. Our marketplaces are no different – both difficult and demanding. Our current view is that we can meet full-year market expectations of 18c-20c adjusted earnings per share. Our focus continues to be on reducing costs, generating cash and paying down debt.”

IFG’s share price rose slightly by 2.5% – or 2c – in Dublin, yesterday, to close the day at 82c.

Management added that it has recommended a final dividend to shareholders, of 2.36c, which brings the total year dividend for 2008 to 3.63c.

IFG recently said that its international trustee and corporate services division was the best prospect for growth this year. That division covers foreign jurisdictions such as the Isle of Man, Switzerland, Jersey and Cyprus and represented more than 60% of group profits last year.

Ireland, on the other hand, only accounts for less than 5% of group profits.

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