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Pre-tax profits at Irish Stock Exchange drop 17pc to €4.6m

PRE-TAX profits at the Irish Stock Exchange (ISE) fell back last year, as the company dealt with pension issues that offset higher revenues.

For the year to the end of December, the ISE said profits before tax slid to €4.6m from €5.5m a year earlier. The 17pc drop in earnings came after the firm took an exceptional charge of €2m as part of a reorganisation of the company pension.

The ISE closed its defined benefit scheme during the year, and replaced it with a defined contribution scheme. Meanwhile, revenues climbed 4pc year-on-year to €21.3m.

The ISE gets close to two-thirds of its revenue from listing international funds and various debt instruments. So-called 'primary market' business provided €13.7m of group turnover, little changed from the previous year.

Unlike most companies, however, the key metric for the stock exchange is generally considered to be the number of listings on the exchange.

In 2011 the number of listed funds declined by almost 4pc to 2,893 while there were 21,142 tranches of debt securities listed, a decrease of 6pc year-on-year.

"The impact of challenging conditions in international capital markets remains a factor in the level of fund and debt securities listing on the ISE's markets," said the company.

Trading volumes in stocks and shares jumped 14.2pc, but turnover in Irish government securities for the full year was down substantially on 2010 measuring €62bn.

Revenue from 'Irish Market' business, which includes equity listings and membership fees, increased 13pc to €6.9m.

Company chief executive Deirdre Somers said the exchange delivered a strong performance in 2011 despite the challenging environment.

The ISE said it also expected a "marginal decrease in income" for 2012.

Irish Independent