Icap eyes acquisitions to boost e-trading

Icap eyes acquisitions to boost e-trading

Interdealer broker Icap says it is seeking acquisitions to expand its electronic trading business. The news comes as the firm reports a 32% rise in e-trading volumes in the first half of the year.

Icap says electronic volume increased by 32% over the previous year to average US$540 billion/day in the six months ended 30 September 2005.

Revenue at its electronic broking businesses increased by 24% to £49.3 million in the first half of the year. Profit at the unit rose 65% from £9.4 million to £15.5 million, a margin of 31%.

Icap says combined voice and electronic market share overall in US Treasury products exceeded 58% during H1.

In a statement, Michael Spencer, group CEO, Icap, says the firm will continue to drive organic growth by exploiting new products and markets and migrating the more liquid, commoditised markets to electronic broking.

"We aim to harness this organic growth, together with selective acquisitions, to increase our share of the combined voice and electronic market to 35% within a few years," he says.

Last week Goldman Sachs said it was acquiring Chicago futures broker Patterson Capital Markets in order to increase its electronic trading services. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Patterson offers futures trade execution services globally and across different asset classes. According to reports, the unit will operate as a stand-alone business within Goldman's futures division and will be managed by Patterson's president, Zach Patterson.

Earlier this year Goldman Sachs fired about 30 traders in response to declining margins and increased electronic trading of equities.

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