Chemicals group Synthomer cheered investors with a 25% jump in the interim dividend, which came despite a drop in half-year sales amid challenging market conditions.
The company also said it anticipated delivering underlying full-year profit in line with last year's figure of £90.1m.
Chief executive officer Adrian Whitfield said: "Against challenging market conditions, particularly in our Asian nitrile business, Synthomer has delivered a solid performance in the first half of 2014, with group volumes up 1.8%.
"Given the strong cash generative nature of our business, the board has today updated the group's dividend policy, increasing the level of cash returns for shareholders."
The group described its half-year performance as "solid", pointing to a 1.8% rise in group volumes and a strong performance in Europe, which helped to partially offset weakness in its Asian nitrile business.
Turnover for the period declined from £558.3m to £510.1m year-on-year, with Asia and Rest of World declining from £8.3m to £4.5m and Europe and North American slipping £0.4m to £36m. The portion of sales termed "unallocated" was flat at a loss of £4m.
Finance costs decreased 15% from £7.8m to £6.6m, resulting in pre-tax profit of £29.9m, down 9%. Underlying earnings per share fell 7.3% from 10.9p to 10.1p.
The performance of the group in Asia continued to be affected by competition among glove manufacturers, which depressed margins in the nitrile business, which offset the 4.9% increase in margins. Nitrile unit margins are expected to firm in the second half, together with continued growth in nitrile demand, it said.
Synthomer's performance in Europe was more encouraging, with demand levels rising. However, currency translation affected operating profit, which was up 1.9% on a constant currency basis. Total volumes in both Europe and North America were 0.4% higher.
An interim dividend of 3p was announced, up 25% on the same period a year earlier.
Looking ahead, the group said: "We expect the improved demand in Europe to continue through the remainder of the year. In Asia, we expect continued growth in nitrile demand, and some firming in nitrile cash margins.
"Together with the impact of currency, we expect full-year underlying profit before tax to be broadly in line with the level achieved in 2013."
FTSE 250 private-equity investor SVG Capital said net asset value (NAV) expanded in the first half of 2014, but reported a big drop in profits.
NAV per share totalled 535p by 30 June, up 4% from the start of the year.
The company said it had made a 3.4% total return on the investment portfolio during the half, though this was negatively affected by foreign exchange
Excluding these, the total return would have been 6.9%, driven mainly by its larger investments, such as those in Freescale and Hugo Boss, as well as the stock-market debuts of Saga and The AA.
However, gains on investments at fair value totalled just £42.7m in the first half, compared with £197.9m the year before. After including impairments and exchange losses, this fell to £39.2m, from £236.8m previously.
As such, pre-tax profit amounted to £26.8m, just over a tenth of the £228.9m reported in the first half of 2013.
"We continue to make significant progress on our strategy," said chief executive Lynn Fordham.
"New investments now account for 13% of the investment portfolio and I would expect the transition to post-2012 investments to continue to gather pace over the coming 12 to 18 months."
She said the company remains positive on the long-term outlook for private equity, though she expressed caution about pricing and leverage levels in "certain areas of the market".