20 Aug 2015

NZX nearly triples half-year profit

11:05 am on 20 August 2015

NZX has nearly tripled its half-year profit due to the sale of its half stake in Link Market Services.

The sharemarket operator made $18 million for the six months to the end of June, compared with $7 million in the same period a year earlier.

Excluding the $11.8 million Link Market Services sale, its profit fell by 11.5 percent.

Revenue rose 10 percent to $34.4 million, due in part to the acquisition of funds management company SuperLife, which helped the company significantly expand its portfolio of traded funds.

But gross earnings fell 4 percent to $11.7 million due to launching more exchange-traded funds, as well as higher legal costs.

NZX chief executive Tim Bennett said the result also reflected the absence of any significant new listings, with revenue from that area down by 12 percent to $5.5 million.

"We expect a bit of an uptick in capital markets activity around the IPO pipeline."

NZX chief executive Tim Bennett says its dairy derivatives market had grown rapidly, with trading volumes more than doubling.

"We are seeing a large number of traders, largely internationally, are seeking to hedge their price risk. That's partly driven because there's an expectation that prices will rise, but it's also driven by the fact that there's a lot of volatility in that market and you want to smooth that volatility."

Volatile dairy prices had prompted NZX was consider increasing the range of risk management products it offers.

"We need to expand the number of risk management tools that are available to the industry, both dairy and other commodities in New Zealand so that farmers, processors, and traders can hedge that price risk," said Mr Bennett.

He said a tougher year for farmers meant the outlook for its agri-information business was harder to predict.

"It's a challenging time in the rural economy at the moment. We get a traditional uptick in the spring so we've looking forward to see what happens in the next couple of months."

Mr Bennett said despite the lack of new listings, the value of the stock market topped $100 billion for the first time, while trading activity continued to grow.