February 19, 2018 / 6:49 AM / a month ago

Euronext's core profit beats expectations; reaffirms forecast

(Reuters) - Pan-European exchange Euronext (ENX.PA) reported on Monday higher-than-expected full-year core earnings, as cost discipline helped offset an environment of low volatility.

Company stock price information is displayed on screens as they hang above the Paris stock exchange, operated by Euronext NV, in La Defense business district in Paris, France, December 14, 2016. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 4.9 percent to 297.8 million euros (263.49 million pounds) in the year ended Dec. 31, from a year earlier, said Euronext, which operates bourses in Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, London and Lisbon.

“Our confidence is strong for the next two years. Core business revenue should grow in line with forecasts, and we will continue our cost control discipline...” CEO Stephane Boujnah said.

Revenue rose 7.2 percent to 532.3 million euros in the year, while cash trading revenue increased 5.3 percent to 190.3 million euros, as strong market share and improving volumes helped battle low volatility, Euronext said.

Analysts were expecting core earnings of 292.75 million euros and revenue of 534.38 million euros, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Market volatility was relatively lower in 2017, following increased activity in 2016 after the U.S. presidential election and Britain’s decision to exit the European Union.

Euronext said it would continue to deploy capital through acquisitions and keep a 50 percent dividend payout ratio.

The company reaffirmed its 2019 EBITDA margin target in the range of 61 to 63 percent, excluding clearing operations.

It also reiterated a 2 percent compound annual core business revenue growth through 2019.

    The bourse said 2019 would benefit from the acquisitions of the Irish Stock Exchange (ISE) and FastMatch, an electronic communication network in the spot foreign exchange market.

    Euronext bought ISE for 137 million euros last year to boost its position in debt and fund listings.

    Revenue from listings jumped 22.6 percent from a year earlier to 84.2 million euros, Euronext said, adding primary market activity was “slightly impacted” by uncertainties around the political environment in Europe during the first quarter.

    “However, 2017 saw the return of large capitalisations to Euronext’s markets with listings such as ALD (ALDA.PA) and VolkerWessels (KVW.AS),” it said.

    The company said clearing revenue rose 6.5 percent to 51.1 million euros in the year. Euronext is a minority shareholder in London Stock Exchange Group’s (LSE.L) LCH clearing house.

    Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri

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