IntercontinentalExchange Tops Street in 1Q as Fees Grow

IntercontinentalExchange (NYSE:ICE) reported better-than-expected first-quarter earnings and sales on Thursday as new revenue from the NYSE Group helped boost listing fees and it cleared a record number of credit default swaps.

The Atlanta-based exchange and clearing house, which closed on its multi-billion-dollar deal with Big Board parent NYSE Euronext in November, reported net income of $262 million, or $2.27 a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $135 million, or $1.86 a share.

Excluding one-time acquisition costs, ICE said it earned $2.60 a share, topping average analyst estimates by two pennies.

Revenue for the three months ended March 31 was $932 million, up sharply form $352 million a year ago and beating the Street’s view of $922.9 million.

Leading that gain was a sharp rise in transaction and clearing fees, up to $830 million from $300 million a year ago, and higher market-data fees. It also recorded $91 million in listing fees from zero in 2013 as NYSE led in technology IPOs with 10 last quarter and $1.7 billion in proceeds.

ICE’s finance head, Scott Hill, attributed the gains to growth in its global agriculture complex and a record quarter for CDS clearing.

“We achieved record revenues and have taken actions that have already allowed us to realize over 40% of our expense synergy target relating to the NYSE Euronext acquisition, increasing the efficiency of our operations globally,” he said.

The company is on track to deliver its streamlining goals, including paying down debt, and said it will continue divesting non-strategic businesses while delivering new risk management products and extending its footprint in Asia.

Shares of ICE were down 5% to $191.78 in recent trade.