Getco Profit Drops 90% as Equity Volumes Slump

Getco LLC earnings plunged 90 percent last year as stock-market volume fell and volatility evaporated.

Net income dropped to $16.2 million last year from $162.7 million in 2011, according to a regulatory filing today. Revenue declined 40 percent to $551.5 million, the company said. Getco agreed to buy Knight Capital Group Inc. in a $1.4 billion deal after the market maker lost more than $450 million when computers generated a flood of erroneous orders in August.

Merging the two companies will generate savings of as much as $110 million a year through cost reductions, the companies said. The elimination of redundancies in infrastructure and personnel will help cut expenses by $20 million to $30 million during the first year of the merger. Annual savings will increase to $90 million to $110 million by the third year.

The shares will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under a revised plan where existing stockholders can exchange three shares for one share of the combined company. The original agreement was one for one. The change, which doesn’t affect the total paid to Knight Capital’s shareholders, is aimed to meet NYSE’s requirement for a minimum share price of $4 at the time of listing, the companies said. Knight Capital closed at $3.74 on April 12.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, known as the VIX, dropped 23 percent last year and reached a six-year low in March. Average daily volume for stocks listed on U.S. exchanges has declined every year since 2009, falling 18 percent in 2012 to a low of 6.42 billion shares, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with 9.77 billion in 2009 and 6.30 billion so far in 2013.

Knight Capital said in January that fourth-quarter profit declined 84 percent after trading slowed and stock-price swings narrowed. The company said in February that it will reduce its workforce by 5 percent as it combines sales teams and discontinues its clearing business.

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