Euronext Net Profit Slips in 2Q After ICE Spin Off


Exchange operator Euronext posted a 4.6% increase in quarterly operating profit on Thursday, boosted by cost cutting and a rise in stock market listings, and said it would accelerate its cost-savings plan.

The operator of the Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels and Lisbon bourses said second-quarter revenue rose 5.2%, helped by a sharp rise in listings as well as a pickup in volumes in its cash trading business.

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Shares in Euronext, which was spun off from parent Intercontinental Exchange in June, were trading 3.2% higher in morning trade, trimming recent sharp losses, but the stock is still down 11% since its IPO less than two months ago.

Chief Executive Dominique Cerutti took the opportunity to deny "formally" a recent report in French newsletter La Lettre A, which said his job was on the line.

"I deny formally that on behalf of my board and my chairman," he told reporters on a conference call.

"I have the full confidence of my board. I love my job ... There is absolutely no tension."

Commenting on the departure last week of Cees Vermaas, the head of Euronext Amsterdam, Cerutti said the move was Vermaas' own choice - a combination of a career opportunity and a personal choice, and was a "peaceful" separation.

A report on the website of business newspaper L'Echo said Vermaas had accepted a job at Euronext's arch-rival Chicago Mercantile Exchange - the world number one derivatives exchange, which plans to open operations in Europe. The blog also said there were tensions within Euronext since the IPO between its Amsterdam and Paris offices.

Euronext - which has been hit in recent years by a sharp drop in trading volumes and has been battling with competitors such as BATS Chi-X Europe to preserve its market share in Europe - has set itself a target of achieving 60 million euros ($80.28 million) of annual cost savings over the next three years.

"It is very likely that at the next earnings we will set a new date," said Chief Executive Dominique Cerutti. "It (the cost savings plan) will be accelerated."

Euronext shares traded at a price-to-earnings ratio of 14, compared with 16 for UK rival London Stock Exchange and 13.1 for Germany's Deutsche Boerse. (1 US dollar = 0.7474 euro)