StockMarketWire.com - John Laing reported Thursday first-half profits and net asset growth was bolstered by gains from the sale of the company's stake in Intercity Express Programme.

For the six months to 30 June, profit before tax jumped to £174.3m from £36.6m a year earlier, and net asset value (NAV) grew to £1.51bn from £1.12bn seen at the December end.

The gain on sale of the group's remaining 15% investment in Intercity Express Programme Phase 1, which was completed in May 2018, was a 'significant' contributor to this performance, the company said.

Proceeds of £241.5m were made from the sale of investments in two PPP projects; Intercity Express Programme Phase 1 and Lambeth Social Housing.

The interim dividend was raised 2.9% to 1.80p a share from 1.75p per share seen a year earlier.

The company said it expected investment commitments to be weighted towards the second half and maintained its full year guidance of about £250m. Full-year guidance for realisations was also maintained at about £250m. 'We are pleased with our performance in the first half of 2018. John Laing is growing as an international expert investor in greenfield infrastructure, in Europe, North America, Asia Pacific and beyond. Our pipeline of opportunities continues to grow, whilst our exposure to the UK market continues to reduce, said Olivier Brousse, John Laing's Chief Executive Officer.

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