SIX Group Profit Surges 47 Percent on Eurex Stake Sale

SIX Group, the operator of the Zurich bourse, clearinghouse and payment transactions system, said profit climbed almost 47 percent in 2012 on higher financial income and as it sold its stake in Eurex.

Net income increased to 320.1 million Swiss francs ($337 million), SIX said in an statement today. Operating profit rose more than 21 percent to 194.8 million francs. Trading volume at Swiss Exchange and Scoach Switzerland declined 23 percent to 892.6 billion francs as economic and regulatory uncertainties led to lower activity on stock markets, SIX said.

“The good operating profit is in no small part a consequence of the diversification effect of our business model,” Chief Executive Officer Urs Rueegsegger said in the e-mailed statement.

The Swiss stock exchange, home to Nestle SA and UBS AG, is the largest of Europe’s bourses to remain closely held. It is owned by about 150 brokers and banks, including UBS and Credit Suisse Group AG, that are also users. It offers securities trading, post-trade services, financial information and data and payment transactions.

The board of directors will propose an ordinary dividend of 5.95 francs, up from 5 francs a year earlier, as well as an extraordinary gross dividend of 9.41 francs a share from the sale of its Eurex stake.

While SIX said it sees “continued difficult market conditions” this year, it expects growth in all businesses, particularly payment services. Targeted acquisitions will contribute to profit growth in 2013, it said.

“On the whole, SIX expects a slight rise in operating income” this year, the company said. Still, group profit will be “significantly lower since in 2012 it was considerably influenced by the proceeds from the sale of the Eurex holding.”