Alliance Trust hails flying start to 2013

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Investment group Alliance Trust has enjoyed the best start to a year for more than two decades, helped by soaring stock markets.

The Dundee-based firm said both its share price and net asset value had “broken new highs”.

The group restructured its investments last year, consolidating four regional portfolios into one global grouping holding around 100 stocks.

Yesterday it proposed a fourth interim dividend of 2.3175p, taking its payout for 2012 to 9.63p, an increase of 7 per cent on 2011.

Chief executive Katherine Garrett-Cox said: “Alliance Trust has undergone significant change over the last year and I am pleased that the actions which we have taken across the business have resulted in the good results that we are announcing today. Investment performance continues to improve and the equity portfolio generated double digit returns last year. This performance has enabled us to increase the ordinary dividend and also to pay a special dividend, making an overall increase of 7%, paid out of current year earnings.

“Our subsidiaries have made strong progress over the year. Alliance Trust Savings is now well positioned to perform profitably and pick up market share as a result of the changes that are being implemented as part of the Retail Distribution Review. At the same time, Alliance Trust Investments has significantly grown third party assets, becoming one of the leading players in the Sustainable and Responsible Investment sector, following its transaction to bring across the team and funds from Aviva Investors last year.

“As we look towards the future, it’s clear that the issues that have dogged the markets and the economic data over the last three to four years have not gone away; European governments have not fully resolved the Eurozone issue, nor has the US properly addressed the debt ceiling. However, we invest in companies, not markets, and valuations for many companies remain compelling. There are investment opportunities for those with longer time horizons and I believe that Alliance Trust is now better placed than ever to capitalise on these opportunities in 2013 and beyond. At a time when businesses have suffered an erosion in public trust, we will work to ensure we remain true to our name, our values and to the long-term view of our shareholders, continuing to deliver an improving performance for generations.”