GLOBAL - The specialist top-down emerging markets asset manager Ashmore Group increased its assets under management by 33% in 2006, bringing the total to $26.8bn (€20.2bn) last year, when it was first listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Pre-tax profit of £60.2m (€89.4m) for the six months ended 31 December 2006 was up 2% compared to the same period the year before.

Net management fees stood at £55.8m, an increase of 66%.

 "The group continues to focus on and deliver strong performance across its investment themes, increasing its assets under management and growing net management fees," commented Mark Coombs, chief executive of Ashmore.

As at 31 December 2006, the Group managed 40 funds, diversified across four emerging market investment themes:  global US dollar (principally sovereign bonds with a growing corporate debt element), local currency, special situations (distressed debt/private equity) and equity.

"We believe that Ashmore's experience and expertise in emerging markets asset management, coupled with its demonstrable investment track record, position the group well to benefit from the further demand for emerging market products," Coombs said.