Hong Kong Exchanges First-Quarter Profit Falls, Beats Estimates

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd., the world’s second-biggest bourse by market value, said first-quarter profit fell 7 percent, less than analysts expected as listing fees held steady.

Net income in the three months ended March 31 slid to HK$1.15 billion ($148.1 million) from HK$1.24 billion a year earlier, the company said in a statement. That compares with the average HK$1.12 billion estimate from four analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Listing fees dropped 1 percent from a year earlier to HK$244 million, the exchange said.

“The global and political economic uncertainties persisted in the first quarter and investors’ confidence remained subdued,” Chow Chung-Kong, newly-appointed chairman of the Hong Kong bourse, said in a statement. “Hong Kong, as an international financial centre, could not abscond from the whirlpool of instability.”

Hong Kong Exchanges is studying an offer for the London Metal Exchange, the world’s biggest metals trading platform, as it seeks to add commodities to its offerings while large initial public offerings from China slow and trading volume drops. The average daily value of shares traded fell 17 percent from a year earlier to HK$63.2 billion in the first quarter, according to exchange.

The bourse’s shares slid 1.9 percent to HK$121.70 at the 4:00 p.m. close in Hong Kong before the earnings announcement, bringing its losses this year to 1.9 percent. That compares with an 11 percent rally in the Hang Seng Index in 2012.

New Listings

Eighteen companies including Canadian energy explorer Sunshine Oilsands Ltd. debutted their shares on the bourse in the first three months of 2012, the same number as last year, the company said.

Hong Kong Exchanges said on April 30 that it was one of several interested parties looking to buy the LME, which handles more than 80 percent of global trade in metal futures. The London bourse received preliminary bids from CME, NYSE Euronext an IntercontinentalExchange Inc., three people with direct knowledge of the matter said in February. Offers for the LME had to be submitted by today.

Chow, former chief executive officer of subway operator MTR Corp., was named chairman of the Hong Kong bourse on April 24. He replaced Ronald Arculli, who stepped down after serving a maximum term of six years.

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