THE furore that erupted following news of Jardine Matheson Holdings' de-listing in Hong Kong yesterday overshadowed what managing director Nigel Rich described as an ''excellent'' set of results for last year. The British-controlled hong proudly announced a 23 per cent rise in profits to a record US$388.8 million (about HK$3 billion) for the year to December 31, although the result fell on deaf ears as reporters and analysts scrambled to unravel the group's regulatory row with the Securities and Futures Commission. The figures were well ahead of brokerage expectations and compare with the more conservative consensus rise of 13 per cent to HK$2.8 billion as forecast by analysts in the latest edition of the Estimate Directory. There was a US$35.2 million extraordinary gain arising from its share of the sale of Nine Queen's Road Central by its real estate subsidiary Hongkong Land Holdings. Jardine Matheson's result was buoyed by a particularly strong performance from its 50 per cent-owned merchant bank Jardine Fleming, which announced on Tuesday a mammoth 166 per cent rise in after-tax profits to US$202 million for last year. Chairman Henry Keswick said Jardine Fleming had an outstanding year, benefiting from the exceptional strength and volumes of activity in Southeast Asian and Hong Kong financial markets and a modest improvement in Japan. By year-end, Jardine Fleming's total funds under management exceeded US$21 billion, stretching its resources to the limit. Its contributions to Jardine Matheson's profits leapt from US$37.9 million in 1992 to a much-improved $100.8 million. Jardine Matheson's overall fully-diluted earnings per share rose 21 per cent to 66.31 US cents, while turnover climbed 6.6 per cent to $8.42 billion. To reflect the bumper set of results, Jardine Matheson's directors have recommended paying an increased final dividend of 15.2 US cents a share, payable in cash with a scrip alternative. This brings its total dividend for the year up to 22 cents, an increase of 18 per cent over 1992. The directors also announced a 34 per cent rise in net asset value per share to US$4.66 to take into account a substantial revaluation of Hongkong Land's substantial investment property portfolio to better reflect the territory's spiralling real estate prices. Hongkong Land, one of Jardine Matheson's other reliable major contributors, only managed a 0.5 per cent profits rise last year to US$306.5 million, dragged down by hefty one-off losses by its 25 per cent-owned British affiliate Trafalgar House. Its contributions to Jardine Matheson's profits rose only marginally last year from US$50.3 million to $50.6 million. At Jardine Pacific, the continued strength of Jardine International Motor Holdings and a much improved performance from its engineering and construction division offset disappointing results from its trading and distribution arm, mainly in Japan. JIB Group achieved a satisfactory earnings increase, with higher profits from its wholesale and retail broking divisions in all regions except the US. Jardine Pacific's profit contributions rose from US$159 million in 1992 to $164.8 million. Despite some adverse currency movements, profits from Dairy Farm and its associate global retail interests around the world grew 11 per cent with its profit contributions rising to US$48.9 million. Jardine Strategic Holdings, which is due to hold its annual board meeting today, increased its profit contributions from US$90.9 million in 1992 to $101 million.