Abrdn ‘mulls payout to shareholders of up to £500m’

Edinburgh investment giant Abrdn is considering a plan to return up to £500 million to shareholders to placate investors following its relegation from the FTSE 100 earlier this month.

Abrdn shares are down about 44% for the past 12 months.

According to a report in London newspaper The Financial Times, the Abrn board is currently discussing the best method for the return of cash, which could be in the form of a special dividend.

The plans would be subject to approval from regulators.

Abrdn said on September 13 it sold a £262 million stake in HDFC Life Insurance Company in India, and on August 16 said it sold 6% of HDFC Asset Management Company Limited (HDFC AMC) to raise £225 million.

On August 9, Abrdn published first-half results showing its assets under management and administration (AUMA) fell £34 billion to £508 billion in the first half of 2022 amid the global stock market rout.

Abrdn said the drop in assets reflected the lower markets and a final tranche withdrawal of assets by Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) — both of which were partly offset by inclusion of assets from recently-acquired Interactive Investor (ii).

Abrdn reported a loss before tax for the first half of £320 million “largely due to losses of £313m from the change in fair value of significant listed investments (HDFC Asset Management, HDFC Life and Phoenix) as a result of the fall in the share price of these companies in the period.”

Numis analyst David McCann Numis wrote recently: “We continue to think that a more radical strategy is needed to turn the group around and maximise value, such as the break-up of the group or sale of the group in full.”