ASX reports half-year net profit up 39.6%

Source: ASX Limited

ASX Limited (ASX) today announced its first consolidated result since the merger of Australian Stock Exchange and SFE Corporation.

Today's result represents a normal net profit after tax of $139.3 million for the half-year ending 31 December 2006, a 39.6% increase on the $99.8 million of the prior corresponding period to 31 December 20051.

Normal profit was achieved on operating revenue of $259.7 million, 19.6% higher than the $217.2 million in revenue achieved during the prior corresponding period.

An interim dividend of 72.3 cents per share fully franked has been declared, up 28.6% on the prior corresponding period dividend of 56.2 cents per share. This maintains the ASX Board policy of paying 90% of normal net profit after tax as fully franked dividends to shareholders. ASX also returned 58.5 cents per share ($100 million) by way of a capital reduction in October 2006 as part of a commitment made at the time of the ASX/SFE merger.

Robert Elstone, Managing Director and CEO, said: "The strong profit result reflects the healthy trading conditions throughout the reporting period in both the cash and derivative markets. It also highlights the success of the ASX/SFE merger, with the first phase of the integration delivering cost savings that underlined part of the merger's rationale.

"A newly branded, integrated ASX has evolved in a relatively short period of time. The new ASX plays a key role in the market for corporate control, equity and interest rate price discovery, risk transfer and the wholesale payments system. The new management team has the right blend of expertise, experience and energy to enable ASX to meet its licence obligations, deliver benefits to market users, and grow long-term value for shareholders."

Further ASX highlights for the half-year to 31 December 2006:
  • ASX Listings revenue (22% of total revenue) was $56.4 million, up 34.7%. There were 147 new listings2 compared with 129 for the prior corresponding period, with a total of $37.73 billion of new and secondary market capital raised, up 36%.
  • ASX Cash Market revenue (30% of total revenue) was $76.5 million, up 29.1%. ASX cash market includes the trading, clearing and settlement of equities, warrants and interest rate securities. Cash market revenue was earned on a record 20.2 million trades. Daily average equities trades for the period were 157,673, an increase of 49.8% on the daily average of 105,271 for the prior corresponding period. A single day trading record was set on 28 November 2006 of 236,380 trades with an aggregate trade value of $5.7 billion.
  • SFE Derivatives revenue (22% of total revenue) was $57.6 million, up 17.8%. There were 41.1 million derivative contracts traded (33.5 million in the prior corresponding period) for the half. Trading in futures was up 23.2% and options up 8.2%.
  • ASX Derivatives revenue (6% of total revenue) was $16.1 million, down 2.3%.
  • Information Services revenue (10% of total revenue) was $26.1 million, up 21.2%.Cash operating expenses (ex. depreciation and amortisation) of $75.2 million, down 11.3%.

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