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METTLE GROWTH CONTINUES WITH 57% RISE IN EPS

Cape Town – Mettle, the specialist finance house whose empowerment partner is Hosken Consolidated Investments, posted a 57 percent rise in earnings a share to 9,4c in the six months to September 30, further shoring up its unbroken growth performance, figures showed yesterday. Attributable income for the half-year period was up a robust 58 percent at R31,9 million. Gavin O’Connor, the managing director, said continuing strong growth – all organic – had to be viewed against the backdrop of consolidation in the smaller to medium cap financial services sector. Mettle would take advantage of this position by targeting specific market niches that had been weakened as a result of the consolidation process. In the past five years, Mettle has grown its earnings from R1,1 million in the initial first five months of business to R44,5 million in the year to March 2000. Results for the six months to September built on this upward trend. In each of the six-month periods making up the five years, the financial structured products house achieved more than 30 percent return on equity. Total assets hit the R530 million mark at the end of September compared with R342 million a year ago. Mettle late last year walked away from its planned JSE listing because of bearish market conditions. Executives said it was not a primary objective to list. O’Connor said the goal was to evolve into the country’s “premier structured products house”, a path it had already firmly embarked on. International expansion of Mettle continued during the six months with significant growth in its London office complemented by expansion of the Mettle Africa team. During the period, the financial services group established a new division to structure and market yield products specifically designed for the institutional market. In May, Mettle was awarded a zaBBB long-term credit rating by CA Ratings as well as a zaA2short-term credit rating.

Source: Business Report – Vera von Lieres