Sydney Futures Exchange sees profits soar

The Sydney Futures Exchange (SFE) posted a net interim profit of A$11.1 million ($5.9) this year, almost hitting the same level as full-year 2000 when profits were $11.5 million. Included in the profits was $0.7 million from the sale of software by Austraclear prior to its merger with SFE.

“SFE’s solid half-year performance was in line with corporate objectives and reflected the company’s improved operational efficiencies combined with exchange-traded volume growth,” said Robert Elstone, SFE managing director and chief executive. Elstone attributed the strong financial performance to increased volumes in benchmark contracts assisted by market volatility following three consecutive rate cuts by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). He said he was especially pleased given that SFE had reduced average exchange contract fees during the period.

The first half of the year saw consolidation at SFE as Austraclear technology, staff and premises were integrated into the business. Elstone said that cost savings and operational efficiencies had been realised through the integration, and new products and services should be introduced in the second half of next year.

But Elstone also offered a cautious note: “The historical trend for the exchange is for lower trading volumes in the second half of the year. In addition we expect technology costs to rise with the implementation of new clearing technology initiatives.” On average trading volumes are expected to be 6% lower than during the first half.

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