ASX cuts costs to fend off competition as revenues squeezed

Source: ASX

ASX half-year results to end December 2011.

Financial Highlights

Statutory profit after tax $175.6 million, up 2.1%
Underlying profit after tax (excluding significant items) $180.7 million, up 2.9%o
Operating revenue $315.1 million, up 2.8%
Interest and dividend revenue $25.2 million, up 13.7%
Cash operating expenses $70.4 million, up 3.4%
Earnings per share 103.2 cents, up 2.5%
Interim dividend of 92.8 cents per share fully franked, up 2.9%
90% of underlying profit after tax payout ratio
Significant items $5.1 million after tax
Redundancies and premises consolidation following a strategic review of business expenses
Capital expenditure $22.6 million in line with guidance
New data centre on track and on budget

Mr Elmer Funke Kupper, ASX Managing Director and CEO, said: "ASX has achieved a sound result in challenging market conditions, producing growth in revenue, profit and dividend. The Group's diversified earnings profile enabled total revenue to increase, despite activity declines in some markets.

"Revenue growth in the first quarter was 10.9%, driven by strong equity market and derivative volumes. The second quarter, however, was impacted by the sovereign debt crisis in Europe and significant reductions in risk appetite and general market activity. This led to an overall revenue decline in the second quarter of 4.9%.

"ASX has a strong balance sheet which allows the company to continue its investment in technology infrastructure and new products and services. The interim dividend of 92.8 cents per share reflects a 90% payout ratio, consistent with previous results."

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