Icap plc (IAP.L), the world's leading interdealer broker, today issues its Interim Management Statement for the period from 1 October 2011 to 31 January 2012 and the outlook for ICAP's financial year ending 31 March 2012.
As previously indicated, the third quarter ended 31 December 2011 was less active than the first half with Group revenue from continuing operations for the nine months to 31 December lower by 2% compared with the same period in the previous year. For the third quarter, Group revenue from continuing operations fell by 7% compared with the strong third quarter of 2011.
The continued uncertainty in the Eurozone and constraints on market liquidity, together with customers reducing risk before the year-end, led to more subdued volumes. Our post trade businesses however continued to perform strongly throughout the period.
It is still relatively early in 2012 but we have seen signs of an encouraging recovery in voice broking revenue. Volumes on our electronic platforms however, while up on December, are down 19% compared to a busy January 2011 due mainly to very low volatility in yen and Swiss FX as a result of central bank actions.
In response to market conditions, we have also been realigning our business to match customer demand by reducing headcount in areas of lowered profitability, while investing and hiring in growth areas such as financial futures and commodities. To date we have reduced our cost base by a net £20 million compared to the prior year.
As a result, we expect pre-tax profits for the year to 31 March 2012 to be towards the upper end of the current analyst range of £336 million to £358 million.
The Board has today appointed John Sievwright as its Senior Independent Director.
The global outlook remains uncertain but there are some grounds for cautious optimism. There are indications of improvement in the US economy and European government and institutional activity has improved liquidity conditions. As certainty and confidence return, so will our customers' willingness to transact.
Commenting on the third quarter and outlook, Michael Spencer, Group Chief Executive Officer of ICAP, said: "Like everyone else we saw a significant reduction in risk appetite in November and December. In January we sawencouraging signs of activity starting to return, albeit cautiously in some markets.
"ICAP is well placed to capitalise on the rapidly changing shape of the wholesale financial markets and to serve our customers' needs. The financial strength of our business means we can continue to invest in the technology, markets and products that will drive future growth. Our market-leading electronic fixed income platform, BrokerTec, will benefit from a significant upgrade in March leading to improved processing speed and expanded capacity.
"The wholesale markets play a vital part in the efficient flow of capital around the global economy and ICAP will continue to play a leading role in helping our customers manage and mitigate their risks."
In the third quarter, the voice broking business recorded lower activity overall as uncertainty weighed on the markets. However, energy performed well globally during the period, as did European government bonds. While credit markets remain challenging, we saw a good performance in European and Asian credit derivatives. We also saw a strong performance in on and offshore Chinese Renminbi. Our restructuring in Brazil is on track; revenues grew strongly in the third quarter and we expect to reach breakeven during the second half of the next financial year. In December we expanded our financial futures business creating a global execution model with operations in London, New York, Chicago and Sydney.
On our benchmark electronic foreign exchange and fixed income platforms, EBS and BrokerTec, total average daily volumes for the quarter ended 31 December 2011 were $730 billion, a decrease of 7% year on year, albeit the comparison period benefited from quantitative easing. In fixed income products, total average daily volumes on the BrokerTec platform were $594 billion, a decrease of 8% on the previous year, in part due to the historically low US yield curve. We have seen a good performance from European government bonds. Average daily volumes on EBS decreased 6% year-on-year to $136 billion for the quarter, partly due to lower volumes in some of EBS's strongest currency pairs resulting from central bank intervention policies in Japan and Switzerland.
Our post trade risk and information business saw strong revenue growth for the quarter ended 31 December 2011. TriOptima, through triReduce, its compression service for both interest rate and credit default swaps, helped customers reduce their counterparty credit risk by terminating a record-breaking $62 trillion in OTC derivative notional principal outstanding during 2011. In some months, including October, triReduce eliminated more interest rate swap notional principal than the market added in new trades. Reset benefited from continued volatility as risk reduction remained a key focus for clients. ReMatch launched its new quanto service, which was well received by the market. At 31 December 2011 Traiana's Harmony network was processing an average of 1.1 million transactions per day, an increase of more than 55% over the same period in 2010. CLSAS, our aggregation service joint venture with CLS, processed on average 240,000 transactions per day in the third quarter, an increase of 190% over the same period last year.
We expect the effective tax rate for 12 months ending 31 March 2012 to be 30%. For the nine months ended 31 December 2011, the Group purchased 14 million shares of which 8 million were purchased in the three months to 31 December 2011 to offset shares issued under the previous scrip dividend.