- Venture capital Draper Esprit said Monday operating profit doubled in six months through September driven by strong performance in its core portfolio.

For the six months ended 30 September, operating profit before more than doubled to £39.16m from £18.73m a year earlier and the gross primary portfolio rose 45% to £354.0m.

The performance was driven by strong growth in the core portfolio, which helped the overall portfolio grow 20%.

The core portfolio holdings increased in value by 33% to £235.1m from £176.6m in March, and represented approximately 70% of the gross portfolio value, the company said.

Net assets excluding goodwill rose to £440.3m, up from £290.9m at the March end.

The group had invested in 11 new companies and 6 existing companies in the first half of the year.

'In the six-month period ended 30 September 2018, the Company continued to successfully execute the strategy of providing early and growth-stage technology companies with the capital, network, and support they need to pursue their global growth plans. We remain on course to exceed our stated objective of a portfolio return of 20% per annum for the full year, with a 20% fair value increase delivered in the six months period ended 30 September 2018,' said Simon Cook, CEO Draper Esprit.

'The ongoing and rapid advances in key technology subsectors such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, digital healthcare and fintech continue to shape our investment strategy and, having invested as a group £75.6 million, including £10.6 million from co-investment funds, during the six-month period, with over £45.0 million to close in the near-term by the Company (and a further £9.5 million from co-investment vehicles), Draper Esprit remains one of the most active VCs in Europe.'

At 9:50am: [LON:GROW] Draper Esprit Plc share price was +15p at 545p

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