August 10, 2017 / 1:08 AM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-TMX beats profit expectations as it cuts costs

(Adds details of earnings, executive shuffle)

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Canada’s dominant stock exchange operator, TMX Group Ltd, posted better-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue late on Wednesday, as it saved more in costs than it lost in revenue from several businesses it discarded.

TMX is in the midst of a cost-cutting drive, selling a string of non-core assets and slashing staff even as it invests in seeking out more profitable avenues for growth.

The company, which owns the Toronto stock exchange, reduced its operating expenses, not including restructuring costs, by 8 percent from a year earlier, it said.

The company’s chief executive, Lou Eccleston, said the results underlined the “profound fundamental strength” of the company’s business model, which is trying to create higher- value services out of the vast amount of data it generates.

One example of that is a blockchain-based service TMX is pitching for buyers and sellers of natural gas that should help speed up and simplify transactions.

New projects also include a private equity marketplace, cattle trading platform and a Chinese joint venture working to speed cross-border investments into China’s $9 trillion bond market.

The company also announced a string of executive moves on Wednesday, promoting Jean Desgagné to a newly-created position overseeing the company’s overall push to offer more analytical products, replacing the head of the company’s Market Insights unit, Eric Sinclair, who is retiring.

Revenue from the company’s equities and fixed income trading and clearing unit rose 5 percent to C$46.7 million, while capital formation was flat at C$51.6 million

Net income attributable to the group’s shareholders

for the quarter ended June 30 rose to C$66.5 million from C$58.3 million, a year earlier.

On a per share basis, TMX’s profit for the quarter was C$1.19 per share, compared with C$1.07 per share, last year.

Excluding items, the company posted a profit of C$1.26 per share.

Revenue fell 2.2 percent to C$190.3 million compared with a year ago, due to the disposal of risk management business Razor Risk and the Atrium low-latency connection between Toronto and New York as well as de-consolidating BOX options exchange, which it lost control of in July last year.

Excluding those disposals, TMX said revenue rose 3 percent. It kept its quarterly dividend at C$0.50 a share.

Analysts had on average expected TMX to earn C$1.14 a share on revenue of C$183.8 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. (Additional reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Sandra Maler and Andrew Hay)

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