London Stock Exchange posts sliding profits

The London Stock Exchange Group said Wednesday that 2012/2013 net profits more than halved, but expressed optimism over the outlook for the current financial year.

Earnings after taxation slumped to £217.0 million in the 12 months to the end of March, the LSE said in a results statement.

That compared with £522 million in 2011/2012, when results were skewed by a large exceptional gain on its stake in FTSE International.

The operator of the London Stock Exchange and Italy's Borsa added that total income rose five percent to £852.9 million, up from £814.8 million a year earlier.

That beat analysts' consensus forecast of £837.2 million, Dow Jones Newswires said.

And operating profit fell by just three percent to £348.4 million due in part to an increase in operating expenses.

"In the year ahead, we will remain firmly focused on achieving the expected benefits from recent transactions and investment in new products, as well as continuing to seek new growth opportunities," the LSE said.

"We look ahead with optimism as we continue to develop opportunities to meet the needs of our customers and deliver value for shareholders."

The LSE's French chief executive Xavier Rolet has been at the helm of the group for the past four years.

During that time, the LSE has aggressively wooed foreign companies from all over the world to list in London.

It had also sought to enlarge its business via a string of acquisitions.

In late 2011, the LSE bought the remaining 50-percent stake in stock markets data provider FTSE International Ltd that it did not already own from publisher Pearson.

In March 2012, it announced a deal to buy a majority stake of up to 60 percent in leading independent clearing house group LCH.Clearnet.

However, the LSE failed in 2011 to purchase Canada's TMX Group Inc, operator of the Toronto Stock Exchange.