Transatlantic exchange operator Nasdaq OMX Group <NDAQ.O> on Thursday said it raised its dividend 67 percent and took substantial restructuring charges to combat foreign exchange headwinds as its profits topped expectations.
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Nasdaq said its board authorized a hike in the company's dividend to 25 cents per share from 15 cents per share.
"The stable nature of our financial model produces strong cash flows and supports our decision to substantially increase Nasdaq's dividend," Chief Financial Officer Lee Shavel said in a statement. He added that the Nasdaq would still have "the financial flexibility to reinvest cash flow when opportunities emerge to generate attractive returns."
Net income attributable to Nasdaq in the first quarter totaled $9 million, or 5 cents per share, down from $103 million, or 59 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding one-time items, such $150 million of restructuring charges, $31 million of legal expenses and $15 million of amortization expense, Nasdaq earned 80 cents per share, beating the analysts' average estimate by 2 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue fell 4 percent to $507 million, mainly due to a negative impact from foreign exchange rates.
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Operating expenses fell 8 percent to $272 million.
Nasdaq said it began restructuring in the first quarter in order to improve efficiency, partially due to the negative impact foreign exchange rates were having on its profits. The New York based company said the restructuring would eliminate $17 million to $19 million in annualized costs, through cuts to compensation, real estate and technology expenses.
Market services revenue at Nasdaq fell 9.6 percent to $188 million. Of that segment, cash equities revenues rose on higher revenue capture, while access and broker services, fixed income and derivatives revenues declined, due in part to foreign exchange headwinds.
Technology solutions revenue, including corporate solutions and market technology, fell 6 percent to $138 million.
Information services revenue, which includes market data and index licensing and services, rose 1.6 percent to $125 million, helped by the recent acquisition of data analytics firm Dorsey Wright.
Listing services revenues were up 10.3 percent at $64 million, as Nasdaq as price increases helped offset a lower number of new listings in the quarter and foreign exchange impacts.
(Reporting by John McCrank Editing by W Simon)