Brickles exits for good as Plus takes axe to staff numbers and tech

Brickles exits for good as Plus takes axe to staff numbers and tech

Plus Markets has narrowed its first half losses as a new management team embarks on an aggressive cost cutting programme that has seen headcount and technology expenditure slashed and the departure of vice chairman Simon Brickles.

The firm enlisted a new management team in February which immediately embarked on a "radical and aggressive" strategy to turn Plus from a reporting venue into a fully-fledged competitive stock exchange to take on the likes of the LSE and Chi-X.

Having pledged to turn a profit within two years and reduce its cost base by 40% to annual levels of below £5 million from 2011, the team has slashed staff numbers from 52 to 28, saving over £1 million a year.

It has also given notice on a facilities management agreement, which is expected to reduce technology infrastructure costs from over £2 million a year to under £500,000 for 2011 for an in-house built quote and trade reporting facility.

In August the operator revealed that it has dumped Nasdaq OMX, Reuters and BT in favour of the in-house system and an agreement with Algo Technologies for market data and connectivity systems with a deal for the vendor's matching engine also in the pipeline.

With administrative expenses for the six months of £4.03 million, compared to £7.38 million the previous year, first half losses before depreciation, amortisation, impairment and interest received were £2.54 million down from £5.85 million in Q1 2009.

Revenue was flat at £1.53 million, compared to £1.49 million the previous year and the company has no debt with a cash balance of £9.73 million (2009 - £10.26 million).

Meanwhile, Simon Brickles who stepped aside as Plus chief executive in February, taking on the role of vice chairman, has now left the company altogether and won't be replaced. Non-executive director Stephen Allcock has also quit.

Cyril Théret, CEO, Plus, says: "Plus Markets has embarked on a radical and aggressive strategy to transform itself. We have made some clear decisions about the future direction of the Company. We now seek to broaden our services and products to both the small and mid-cap sector and a wider group of users in order to generate revenues and greater future value."

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