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Count posts record profit

By Madeleine Collins
 — 1 minute read
Count's dream run shows no sign of ending.
t Financial Group has announced an after-tax profit of $22.7 million for the last financial year.
It is an increase of 29 per cent on the previous corresponding period and the group's 27th consecutive profit.

Count's number of business owners or franchisees fell slightly by 15 people to 422 over 2006/07.

However, chief executive Marianne Perkovic said a skills shortage in the industry would not critically impact Count's ability to grow.

"We are committed to not paying the exorbitant salaries...that's just been sensationalised in the industry," she said.

Profit from fees and commissions jumped 14 per cent to $16.13 million on the back of strong growth in Count's lending business, Finconnect as well as in insurance sales.

Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) were $28.9 million in line with previous guidance.

"Our high operation leverage via our franchising model and strong investment markets resulted in 22 per cent net income growth and a 25 per cent increase in EBIT," Count said yesterday.

The total dividend was up 33 per cent to 8 cents per share.

Investment review fees and preferred platform fees rose 29 per cent and make up the group's fastest-growing income stream.

Funds under management in Count's preferred platform providers (BT, Skandia, Colonial First State and Perpetual) rose to $7.43 billion in the 12 months to the end of June, an increase of 36 per cent.

The increase was driven by the Federal Government's superannuation changes and above average growth in Count's low-cost Platform2, which is run by BT for wealthy clients.

The group confirmed that a recommended multi-manager on its approved product list had a very small exposure to the hedge fund Basis Capital, which was hit hard by the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the United States.

Count said it had no direct exposure to Macquarie Bank's Fortress Funds, which have also suffered losses.

On August 1 Count's bid to buy Zurich-owned Lonsdale Financial Planning Group was rejected.

Lonsdale and Zurich later accepted a $120 million deal with DKN Financial Group.
Count posts record profit
Count's dream run shows no sign of ending.
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