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Somers posts a $1.7m half-year loss

Financial services investment firm Somers Ltd logged a loss of $1.7 million for the first six months of its financial year.

The loss, covering September last year to the end of March, narrowed nearly $6 million from the same period in 2015.

Somers Ltd said the loss so far this year was due to currency fluctuations and the British pound's decline against the dollar.

The figures equate to a diluted loss per share of 14 cents compared to a loss of 65 cents per share for the same period last year.

Somers' board declared an interim dividend of 18 cents a share, the same level as last year.

Somers owns Bermuda Commercial Bank, Waverton Investment Management, and Ascot Lloyd Holdings.

Total revenue for the period for BCB was $13.5 million compared to $13.9 million for the same timeframe in 2015. Somers said the bank's core earnings — which strip out one-off items — improved, but a reduction in the value of the bank's investment portfolio left BCB with a net loss of $3.9 million for the six months, compared to net income of $2.1 million in the prior-year period.

Waverton Investments Management made a pre-tax income of £3.7 million, or $5.8 million, compared to £4.8 million, or $6.85 million, a year earlier.

Waverton's assets under management at the end of March this year totalled £5.5 billion, or $6.42 billion, compared to £4.3 billion, or $6.13 billion, in the same period in 2015.

The firm's latest acquisition, Private and Commercial Finance Group in the UK, had a 12 per cent increase in business originations to the end of March, up from £56 million, or $79.9 million, to £63 million, or $89.9 million.

Warren McLeland, chairman of Somers, said: “Excluding the impact of currencies, results were flat with dividend income received from the investment portfolio largely offsetting a net reduction in portfolio valuations.

“The foreign exchange losses resulted in a 4 per cent decline in our diluted net asset value to $17.03 from $17.74 at September 30, 2015.

“A number of our larger investments, in particular Waverton and Ascot Lloyd, are denominated in sterling and during the six month period ended March 31, 2016, sterling declined by 5 per cent versus the dollar.

“Currently, the Sterling-based investments are not hedged but the board is considering a more active hedging policy.”

Mr McLeland added: “We continue to carry a relatively low level of debt on our balance sheet and we expect to maintain this position at least in the short term.

“As capital grows and our profitable investments return cash, we will look to use these funds to diversify our portfolio.”

The company had dividend income of $2.5 million during the period, compared to $1.6 million a year ago.

The extra income offset a $2.2 million loss on the investment portfolio, a figure which totalled $5.4 million in the same period last year.

The company report said: “Investment gains and losses result from changes in the valuations of the company's investments and during the period a reduction in the carrying value of BCB outstripped valuation increases at Waverton and Ascot Lloyd.

“BCB's valuation includes its subsidiary PCFG and an increase in PCFG's share price in the current quarter should have a positive impact on BCB's overall valuation.”

Revenue dip: Bermuda Commercial Bank took in $13.5 million in the first six months of its fiscal year

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Published June 13, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated June 13, 2016 at 1:39 am)

Somers posts a $1.7m half-year loss

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