Half-year results from NEX Group, the financial technology company formerly known as ICAP, failed to impress on Monday as profit fell and its operating margin narrowed, prompting the company to slash the interim dividend.
Meanwhile the outlook was cautious with the company saying market conditions remained challenging as banks and other participants reported a lack of volume and volatility in financial markets.
Although revenue increased by 13% to £287m in the first half, operating profit fell 16% to £63 as a series of one-off costs, including the implementation of regulatory demands under MiFID II rules that come into force at the beginning of 2018.
The company's trading operating margin fell to 22% from 30% during the same half in 2016.
Other highlights included:
- Trading profit before tax (PBT) of £52m, 12% down on the prior period
- Trading EPS of 9.7p was down from 13.6p in the prior period
- Interim dividend cut to 3.5p per share, down from 11.5p a share in the prior period
Michael Spencer, chief executive (above), said: ""Now more than ever before we're focused on execution and delivering growth in revenue and earnings.
"Despite market conditions remaining challenging, we see many opportunities ahead. We have a diverse global business, an expanding client base and a robust balance sheet.
"This is a transitional and transformational year for NEX and we are committed to our financial aspirations of achieving compound annual revenue growth of 7%-10% and operating margins for NEX Optimisation and NEX Markets of more than 40% by full-year 2019/20."
Investors sold down the shares after the cut in the dividend, leaving the stock 3.85% lower at 574p a share.
Picture courtesy of NEX Group corporate website