Belfast Telegraph

Shares hit new peak for London Stock Exchange after profit rise

London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) shares hit a record high after the group reported a double-digit rise in profit and said it was "exploring" new investments just a month after the collapse of the Deutsche Borse merger.

Gross profit jumped 17% to £409.1 million in the three months to March 31, while total income surged 19% to £458.7 million, when accounting for currency fluctuations.

When stripped of the effects of the weaker pound, total income and gross profit rose 9% and 7%, respectively.

The exchange's shares jumped 1% in morning trading and climbed to an all-time high of 3,344p per share.

The group says it is now on the hunt for potential deals.

Chief executive Xavier Rolet said: "We continue to be actively engaged in exploring selective ongoing organic and inorganic investments in order to drive further growth."

It comes less than a month after the European Commission killed off the £24 billion merger between LSE and Deutsche Borse at the end of March, amid concerns the deal would have created a "de facto monopoly".

The Commission made its decision after the LSE rejected its request to offload its 60% stake in the Italian trading platform MTS.

The LSE had conditionally agreed to to offload its French clearing business LCH to Euronext for 510 million euro (£434 million) to help ease antitrust concerns, but those terms were scrapped after the deal collapsed.

First quarter results have since been boosted by a 31% jump in LCH income to £132 million, up 21% at constant currencies. Gross profit for the unit rose 26% to £113.1 million, up 17% when stripped of currency effects.

The business houses its over-the-counter SwapClear, ForexClear and CDSClear operations, and clears fixed income, cash equities and listed derivative trades.

Mr Rolet said: "The group has made a strong start to the year with growth across all of our core businesses. In particular, we recorded strong results in the SwapClear OTC clearing service, and at FTSE Russell.

"We also have the first contribution from Mergent, having completed the transaction at the start of the quarter."

LSE disclosed in an analyst call on Wednesday that it acquired the data firm for a total of 144 million US dollars (£116.7 million).

The group reiterated plans for a £200 million share buyback programme, first announced in March, as compensation for the collapsed deal with Deutsche Borse.

"The value of the programme reflects the special dividend that would have been paid to LSEG shareholders had the merger with Deutsche Borse taken place," LSE said.

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