February 13, 2008 / 6:13 AM / 12 years ago

Computershare profit beats forecast, lifts outlook

(Adds details, background)

SYDNEY, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Computershare Ltd (CPU.AX), the world’s biggest share registrar, beat expectations with a 30 percent rise in first-half profit and raised its full-year profit forecast, lifting its shares about 12 percent.

Profit growth was driven by record mergers and acquisitions activity globally in 2007.

“In light of the excellent half-year result, and despite the recent equity and interest rate market conditions, the company is expecting to report annual earnings approximately 40 percent higher than last year,” the company said in a statement.

In November, Computershare had raised its earnings per share growth forecast to 30 percent, from 20 percent projected in August. Computershare, which has built up its business largely through acquisitions, reported net profit of $154.9 million for six months ended December. Six analysts on average had projected Computershare’s profit to be $146.9 million.

The net profit after adjustments totalled $155.8 million.

“Our global footprint and diversified business have allowed us to achieve our best six-month result despite less activity in some of our transactional-based operations,” Computershare’s CEO, Stuart Crosby said.

Computershare shares jumped as such as 11.8 percent to A$8.45 while the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index gained 0.2 percent.

Still, Computershare shares are down about 16.3 percent so far in 2008 compared with a 11.3 percent fall in the benchmark index.

Global mergers and acquisitions totalled a record $4.5 trillion in 2007 and that had a delayed impact on Computershare’s profit.

Computershare, which earns about 80 percent of its revenues from overseas, last week acquired QM Technologies Ltd QMT.AX for A$153 million.

($1=A$1.11)

(Reporting by Denny Thomas;)

((denny.thomas@reuters.com; +61 2 9373 1812; Reuters Messaging: denny.thomas.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: COMPUTERSHARE/RESULTS

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