Aberdeen’s dividend news fails to impress

Aberdeen Asset Management failed to impress investors with news of any immediate plans for buybacks or a special dividend after reporting its net cash reserves had more than doubled in the last 12 months.

The fund manager said an 11 per cent rise in full-year revenues, driven by greater demand for its higher-margin funds, helped to more than double its net cash position to £266.4m from £127.5m a year earlier.

Reporting its full-year results to the end of September, Aberdeen said it will pay an 11.5p per share dividend for the year, up 28 per cent on 2011, and that it is “committed to a progressive dividend policy”.

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“Once we’ve made the cash we’ll decide what to do,” Aberdeen’s chief executive Martin Gilbert said, adding that the firm’s capital would see a further boost because holders of a convertible bond had decided to convert their holdings into shares.

However, some analysts were disappointed there was not more news on whether the firm will return more capital to shareholders through buybacks or special dividends.

Aberdeen will also ‘neutralise’ the shares it pays to staff – typically 75 per cent of their bonus – by buying them back in the mar- ket.