August 28, 2013 12:28 pm

SIX earnings boosted by Eurex stake sale

SIX Group, the Swiss exchange, reported an increase in first-half operating profit as it benefited from the sale of its stake in Eurex and a push into payment and settlement.

The group, reporting results under the IFRS accounting standard for the first time, said revenue for the six months to June 30 rose 4.3 per cent to SFr746.7m (£524.2m).

Urs Rüegsegger, chief executive, said earnings were boosted by a growth in the international business of the payment services unit and cost-cutting measures carried out a year ago.

In recent years the exchange has been focused on reducing its reliance on income from stock trading as it loses market share to rival trading platforms, and pushed into services such as payments processing and financial information. Last year contributions from its payments division exceeded those of stock trading for the first time, and it will extend its operations in derivatives clearing next year with the purchase of Oslo Clearing.

SIX also forecast full-year operating profit would “be considerably higher than in the previous year” amid growth across all of its businesses.

It will also benefit from the sale of its 15 per cent stake in Eurex, the derivatives exchange, to Deutsche Börse last year.

The SFr266m (£186.9m) gain on the sale of the stake raised interim headline earnings at SIX by 25.2 per cent year-on-year to SFr23.5m (£16.5m).

Stripping out the one-off gain and the earnings contributions from Eurex, earnings before interest and tax at SIX slid 67.5 per cent to SFr116.6m. Operating profit rose 76 per cent to SFr104.4m.

Its stock trading business reported a 12.4 per cent increase in trading volume to SFr540bn on the back of small market share gains, higher prices and increased investor appetite for trading.

Higher trading volume boosted its securities services business, with cross-border settlement transactions rising 15.6 per cent to 5.1m. The number of debit and credit card transactions increased 9.1 per cent to 1.6bn at its payments business, it added.

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