Lower Trading Volume Sinks CBOE Holdings, Inc. Earnings

Image source: CBOE Holdings.

CBOE Holdings(NASDAQ: CBOE)saw its third-quarter profits fall as trading volume retreated from all-time highs set last year, but the holding company for the Chicago Board Options Exchange is making a bold move to reignite its growth by acquiring a major stock exchange competitor.

CBOE Holdings results: The raw numbers

Data source: CBOE Holdings Q3 2016 earnings press release. YOY = year over year.

What happened with CBOE Holdings this quarter?

Operating revenue fell 16% to $156.2 million, due mainly to a 23% decrease in transaction fees to $112 million.

Total trading volume declined 12% year over year to 296 million contracts, or 4.63 million per trading day. Average revenue per contract (RPC) also decreased 12% to $0.378 as trading in CBOE's higher-margin RPC index options and futures contracts fell to 40.7% of trading volume, down from 44.6% in Q3 2015.

"Although trading volume was down this quarter compared to last year's record third-quarter volume, CBOE posted solid financial results, while continuing our efforts to efficiently manage our resources and expenses," said CFO Alan Dean in a press release.

Total operating expenses increased 5% to $90.6 million. Core operating expenses -- which exclude volume-based expenses, depreciation and amortization, accelerated stock-based compensation expense, and unusual or one-time expenses -- were $51.6 million, up 1% compared to the year-ago period. And volume-based expenses, which include royalty fees and order-routing fees, declined 11% to $19.9 million because of lower trading volume in licensed index and futures products.

All told, operating income -- adjusted to exclude acquisition-related expenses and other special items -- fell 26% to $74.8 million. Adjusted net income to common stockholders decreased 25% to $47.2 million. And adjusted earnings per share, aided somewhat by share buybacks, declined 24% to $0.58.

Bats acquisition

On Sept. 26, CBOE announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire stock exchange operator Bats Global Markets (NYSEMKT: BATS) for approximately $3.2 billion in cash and stock. The deal is expected to help CBOE expand into stock, ETF, and currency trading while also improving the company's trading technology.

CEO Edward Tilly elaborated:

Looking forward

CBOE said its full-year core operating expenses and capital expenditures would likely be "slightly below" its prior forecasts of $211 millionto$215 million and $47 millionto$49 million, respectively.

"Our focus on creating long-term value for our shareholders remains unchanged," added Dean. "The recently announced planned acquisition of Bats is an example of how we are allocating resources in a way that we believe will generate the best returns for our shareholders."

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Joe Tenebruso has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends CBOE Holdings. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.