Icap seeks new acquisitions as e-trading volumes soar

Icap seeks new acquisitions as e-trading volumes soar

UK interdealer broker Icap, which bought the EBS electronic currency trading platform a year ago, says its electronic broking businesses have boosted full year profits and it is on the look out for further acquisitions.

In a trading update, London-based Icap says daily volumes on its electronic broking systems - including both EBS and BrokerTec - exceeded $1 trillion for the first time on two successive days in March. Average daily electronic trading rose to $678 billion in the second half of its fiscal year.

Icap says the combination of its electronic broking business and EBS accounts for about 45% of the total global electronic interdealer broking revenues in 2006.

The broker expects full year pretax profit to come in between £241 million to £256 million, compared to £204 million for the full year to 30th March 2006. This is in line with analysts' current forecasts.

Group operating profit from its electronic broking and information business is expected to increase from a third in this fiscal year to around 40% in fiscal 2008.

On the back of this profit rise, Icap says it plans to grow both its voice and electronic businesses, both organically and with "selective acquisition".

"There continue to be a number of opportunities for further consolidation of both voice and electronic broking businesses" the broker says in a statement. "Icap is very well placed to make further acquisitions using its existing financial resources and by raising additional debt financing."

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