ICAP Sees Full-Year Profit of Up to $478 Million on January Jump

ICAP Plc, the world’s largest broker of transactions between banks, said it expects full-year earnings of as much as 305 million pounds ($478 million) after trading volumes increased in January.

Pretax profit for the year through March will be between 280 million pounds to 305 million pounds in line with analyst estimates, the London-based firm said in a statement today. While third-quarter trading conditions were “challenging” and group revenue fell an annual 13 percent, electronic trading volumes jumped 17 percent in January, it said.

“While December was even slower than expected, we’ve seen a marked improvement in trading volumes since the beginning of January across our entire business, although it is premature to tell if this is the start of a more sustained upturn,” Chief Executive Officer Michael Spencer said in the statement.

ICAP has been seeking ways to bolster earnings as the financial crisis crimps transactions on its foreign-exchange and fixed-income trading platforms. The company said it “remain on track” to achieve cost cuts of more than 50 million in the current year, with at least 60 million pounds of annualized savings by year-end.

Interdealer brokers such as ICAP act as a go-between for banks that trade bonds, stocks, currencies, energy and derivatives. They profit when prices fluctuate because more traders use the products they trade.