February 14, 2018 / 10:03 PM / 10 months ago

UPDATE 1-Australia's ASX says first-half profit rises on robust futures trading

(Adds background, derivatives and OTC revenue, CEO quote)

Feb 15 (Reuters) - Australian Securities Exchange Ltd , the world’s 16th-largest stock market by market capitalisation, said first-half net profit rose 5.0 percent as it experienced a pickup in trading activity in the futures markets.

Profit for Australia’s dominant bourse operator was A$230.5 million ($182.81 million) for the six months ended Dec. 31, it said on Thursday, beating a Citigroup estimate of A$226 million.

“The performance was driven by higher secondary capital raisings, increased futures trading - particularly from offshore customers - and growth in technical services connections and data feeds” ASX Chief Executive Dominic Stevens said in a statement.

ASX benefits from buoyant sharemarkets because they encourage more companies to list. The company, which is itself listed, hopes to cut costs by becoming one of the first major exchanges to adopt blockchain technology, a strategy it says it will outline in March.

Revenue from its biggest business, derivatives and over-the-counter markets, grew 4 percent to A$138.1 million.

The company declared an interim dividend of 107.2 Australian cents per share, up from 102 cents a year earlier. ($1 = 1.2609 Australian dollars) (Reporting By Shashwat Pradhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Byron Kaye and Andrew Heavens)

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