ASX Profit Rises, Benefited From Trading Volatility

By Robb M. Stewart Features Dow Jones Newswires

MELBOURNE, Australia--ASX Ltd.'s (ASX.AU) full-year earnings once again rose modestly as the operator of Australia's main securities exchange benefited from periods of volatility in futures and equities markets.

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Net profit increased 1.8% to 434.1 million Australian dollars (US$344.0 million) in the 12 months through June from US$426.2 million the year before, while annual revenue was 2.4% higher at US$764.1 million against US$746.3 million. It continues the trend of recent years.

The bourse achieved growth across most of its major business areas, with the exception of a flat performance in the listings and issuer services arm, where less capital was raised despite a rise in the number of listings, said Dominic Stevens, who took over as managing director and chief executive officer a year ago following the surprise departure of Elmer Funke Kupper.

"ASX has built on its strong first half," Mr. Stevens said. "A combination of macro-economic drivers and ASX's own investments provide the company with growth opportunities."

The company's listings and issuer services arm brought in steady revenue of A$192.7 million.

There were 152 new listings over the course of the year, 28 more than in the previous year although they tended to be smaller than in recent years. Overall, capital raised on the exchange through initial public offerings and secondary stock offerings dropped by 29% to A$55.97 billion.

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From the start of the financial year, the company lowered its equities clearing fees by 10%. In March, the federal government announced ASX's monopoly over clearing share trades would end in the middle of next year in an effort to encourage competition. The ASX has downplayed the threat that poses to revenue and has said it is looking at potential new technologies such as blockchain for handling post-trade activity. It said Thursday it expected to assess the suitability of what is also known as distributed ledger technology by the end of 2017.

Trading services revenue was A$196 million, a 7.2% increase on the year before, while derivatives and over-the-counter markets revenue was 1.2% higher at A$269.1 million.

ASX said it plans to pay a final dividend of A$0.998 a share for a full-year payout of A$2.018, a rise of 1.9% on last year.

Write to Robb M. Stewart at robb.stewart@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 16, 2017 19:59 ET (23:59 GMT)