Djerriwarrh profits fall 9% in soft conditions

THE listed Melbourne investment company Djerriwarrh Investments has fallen victim to last year's market decline, with net losses on its trading portfolio dragging down first-half profit by 9.5 per cent.

THE listed Melbourne investment company Djerriwarrh Investments has fallen victim to last year's market decline, with net losses on its trading portfolio dragging down first-half profit by 9.5 per cent.

The long-term, large capitalisation investor yesterday reported an interim net profit of $23.1 million for the six months to December 31, which was down from $25.6 million a year earlier.

Shareholders will pocket an interim dividend of 10? a share, fully franked, unchanged from a year ago.

Djerriwarrh blamed a slump in the local equity market, which has wiped 12 per cent off the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 since July last year, and drove a 7.9 per cent loss on its $714.6 million investment portfolio.

But dividends and distributions from investments increased slightly during the period, leaving finance and tax costs, and $2.2 million in net losses on its trading portfolio, the key drivers of a 18.2 per cent fall in net operating profit.

Trading portfolio losses cut 17.2 per cent off first-half net operating profit for Djerriwarrh's sister investor, Mirrabooka Investments Ltd, which last week reported a 9.5 per cent fall to $6.9 million.

"From a longer-term perspective, we think conditions are likely

to remain tough for a period of time," the general manager, Geoff Driver, said.

"The factors external to Australia are really impacting it a lot."

Djerriwarrh's investment portfolio is dominated by big names in the top ASX 50 stocks. Its biggest holding remained BHP Billiton at December 31, with shares worth $81.5 million compared with $100.5 million six months earlier.

Djerriwarrh's shares closed up 3? at $3.73.

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