The London Stock Exchange says it is exploring "other opportunities" to broaden the scope and scale of its business after its recent bid to take over local futures market Liffe was thwarted by pan-European rival Euronext.
Reporting an 18 per cent rise in first half profits to £34.2 million, Exchange chairman Don Cruickshank would not be drawn into speculating about potential merger partners. He says, however, that the Exchange is "engaged in other opportunities to broaden the scope and scale of our business both organically and through corporate transactions."
In an interview with Reuters, Clara Furse, LSE chief executive confirmed that discussions had been held with Nasdaq, and did not rule out the possibility of a new alliance with Deutsche Boerse. Other avenues of exploration may include a link-up with Euronext or a take-over of virt-X, the screen-based pan-European market.
For its first set of financial results reported since the listing on 20 July, the LSE recorded strong growth across all business lines. Information services was the largest contributor to turnover for the half-year, reporting revenues 14 per cent higher, up from £40.4 million to £46.2 million, representing 43 per cent of total turnover.
Increased information services turnover reflected higher demand for Exchange market data and the consequent rise in the number of terminals receiving Exchange data on a real time basis. The number of terminals as at 30 September 2001 was approximately 109,000 (2000: 104,000). Of those, approximately 101,000 terminals were attributable to the LSE's professional customer base, a nine per cent increase over last year.
The Exchange is currently developing a new communications platform for the delivery of new products and information services, dubbed Extranex, which will go into pilot early next year.