SHARES in Iomart edged up nearly three per cent after the cloud computing specialist reported a nine per cent hike in underlying profits for the half-year to September 30 and declared a maiden interim dividend, writes Scott Wright.

The Glasgow-based firm booked profits of £11.6 million and said it is on track to achieve another year of “material growth”. It announced an interim dividend of 2.25p per share, which represents a third of the full-year dividend it paid to investors last year. Chief executive Angus MacSween said the dividend commitment shows that the company is generating enough cash to fund acquisitions and deliver a “decent” yield for investors.

The company, which provides secure data hosting services, completed one acquisition during the period, and a further deal since the period ended. Mr MacSween said it remains on the look-out for further deals in what continues to be a fragmented cloud hosting market. “We’re now buying businesses which have come to life while we have been doing this,” he said. “We still get offered businesses to buy on a weekly basis - 90 per cent of them we reject because they don’t fit the criteria. But it is still a fragmented market, there is still plenty of consolidation to do. I’m sure we will continue to find more acquisitions.”

Shares in Iomart closed up 10p at 383p.