Stock Exchange sees profit soar to 8.86m pounds

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THE London Stock Exchange increased its own half-year pre-tax profits from pounds 495,000 to pounds 8.86m, reflecting an end to the costs it incurred from the abandoned Taurus share settlement system.

In the six months to 30 September 1992, the exchange spent pounds 13.5m on Taurus, while in the same period this year there were no continuing costs associated with the project. The total cost to the City of the Taurus fiasco was at least pounds 300m.

Instead, the exchange's design costs for new share trading systems went from nothing to pounds 10.3m, reflecting its new priorities.

Sir Andrew Hugh Smith, chairman and chief executive of the exchange, said: 'The high level of capital raising and trading market activity has improved our financial performance and income rose by 4 per cent to pounds 98.1m, even though settlement charges have been reduced significantly compared with last year.'

Net interest received fell from pounds 2m to pounds 292,000 because of the fall in interest rates.

Sir Andrew said that activity on the exchange had reached new records as the UK economy came slowly out of recession. 'New equity issues raised pounds 8.6bn in the period, more than double the level of last year, and settlement activity was 17 per cent higher.'

Turnover in UK equities rose by almost a quarter to pounds 268bn and overseas equities rose by 81 per cent to pounds 296bn, he said.

In the past six months, the exchange has launched the Sequence Programme to develop trading and information services for London markets. It has also started converting the Talisman market-makers' settlement system in time for 10-day rolling settlement in July 1994.