February 12, 2020 / 7:39 AM / 8 days ago

UPDATE 1-Plus500 posts lower 2019 profit, says H2 buoyant

(Adds H2 numbers, background on regulatory crackdown)

Feb 12 (Reuters) - Plus500 Ltd on Wednesday reported a plunge in 2019 profits, but the online trading platform’s performance in the second half improved due to higher market volatility.

Plus500 and its rivals CMC Markets and IG Group have weathered a tough couple of years as trading activity was hampered by regulatory clamp-down on high-risk betting in Europe and Britain.

However, recent trading updates showed their performance have steadied as traders get used to the new restrictions.

Plus500, which offers its portfolio of over 2,000 instruments, including crypto, forex, commodities and options, said core earnings nearly doubled in the second half compared with the first as its clients traded more.

“Positive momentum has continued into 2020, reflecting heightened levels of volatility in the financial markets due to global events,” Plus500 said.

Still, rule changes impacted the company’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation for the full year, which dwindled to $192.3 million from $506 million a year earlier.

Separately, it also announced a $30 million share buyback plan. (Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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