Greek bourse 2007 net up by 57 percent

Hellenic Exchanges, the operator of the Athens stock and futures markets, said yesterday full-year 2007 net profit grew 57 percent to -91 million on stronger clearing and fee income. Net earnings came in slightly above forecasts, with analysts expecting full-year net profit of -84 to -86 million. The operator said group revenues grew 37 percent to -161.5 million. «The rise in revenue was mostly the result of a 40 percent increase in clearing and settlement income – 59.1 million euros – and fees from listed companies which more than doubled,» the exchange said in a statement. Revenue from share trading was down 12 percent as a result of the exchange’s new pricing policy. The bourse lowered trading fees by 33 percent from January last year. Cash trading revenue is based on the value of shares traded and hence sensitive to the level of the equity market. Annual listing fees are also based on the market capitalization of listed companies. Hellenic Exchanges said it would propose a -0.75 dividend per share for 2007, up from a -0.50 payout a year earlier. It will also seek shareholder approval on March 14 for a buyback of up to 10 percent of its stock. The exchange has bid for a majority stake in Slovenia’s bourse, as part of plans to expand regionally. The shares, down 12 percent since the start of the year, have outperformed the Athens benchmark general index, which has declined 16.5 percent.