30 Jul 2012

NZX issues profit warning

10:08 pm on 30 July 2012

Shares in NZX slumped by nearly 11% after the stock market operator issued a half-year profit warning due to the effect of weaker global equity markets and higher costs.

The company has, however, signalled stronger listing and trading revenues in the second half of the year once the Government's proposed sale of part of Mighty River Power begins.

NZX is forecasting a profit of $3 - $4 million in the six months to June, compared with $4.5 million in the same period last year.

While stock trading volumes are higher, the value of them has fallen 12.4% in the June quarter, due to investors selling following fears that Spain would become the next European nation to need a bailout and signs of a slowing global economy.

Listings of new firms or corporate debt have also fallen significantly.

NZX's costs are expected to jump by between $2 - $3 million, most of which is due to the departure of former chief executive Mark Weldon and the legal dispute with former owners of its grain exchange in Australia.

The stock exchange says the second half of the year is traditionally its strongest period, and the expected partial listing of power company Mighty River, and the launch of Trading Among Farmers, should bolster its income.

Hamilton Hindin Greene client advisor Grant Williamson says the NZX's announcement came as a surprise to investors.

But he says the market has picked the price back up and investors are starting to realise that the outlook for the NZX is still very positive despite the disappointing announcement.

Shares in NZX Limited dropped 14 cents to close down 10.61% on Monday.

NZX's half year results will be released in about three weeks.