Shares in Standard Life Aberdeen (LON:SLA) have jumped higher in London this morning, even as the blue-chip group revealed that its profit had fallen in the first half of the year. The company, however, has signalled plans to accelerate its share buyback scheme.
As of 09:46 BST, Standard Life Aberdeen’s share price had added 2.58 percent to 314.50p. The shares are outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.66 percent higher at 7,714.16 points.
SLA posts HY results
Standard Life Aberdeen announced in a statement this morning that its adjusted profit before tax from continuing operations had fallen to £311 million in the first half of the year, down from £355 million a year ago, with reduced costs only partly offsetting lower revenue. The group posted gross inflows of £38 billion during the reported period, down from £39.5 billion a year ago, noting that net outflows remained “a challenge in a tough market”.
“Conditions for the asset management industry continue to be challenging. However, our gross inflows remain robust and are spread across a diverse range of investment capabilities, and our market-leading adviser platforms continue to grow,” the group’s chief executive officers Martin Gilbert and Keith Skeoch commented in the statement, adding that they were “pleased by progress on the integration programme and achievement of cost synergies”. Today’s update comes about a year after the merger between Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management.
‘The main bright spot’
The merged group further noted that it was planning to accelerate its buyback programme, with an initial tranche of £175 million to start in the next few days, as part of the capital return of up to £1.75 billion.
Reuters reported that analysts at Bernstein had described the move as “the main bright spot” in the results announcement, as their reiterated their ‘outperform’ rating on the stock.