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.”

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Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.