08.08.2011
By Terry Flanagan

TMX Moves Forward

While TMX Group is in discussions with Maple Group regarding a potential takeover by the all-Canadian acquisition vehicle, it is pursuing its own acquisitions and organic growth initiatives.

On an Aug. 5 conference call to discuss second-quarter earnings, TMX Chief Executive Officer Thomas Kloet made no substantial comment on the potential deal with Maple, saying only that discussions were “underway.”

Toronto-based TMX reported a decline in earnings for the second quarter, largely because of merger-related expenses. Kloet downplayed the decline in earnings and focused on the company’s recent initiatives, including the acquisition of technology-services provider Atrium Network, and the launch of alternative trading system TMX Select.

“The successful integration of the Atrium network business will be a key priority,” Kloet said. “Also important will be our work to firmly establish TMX Select in the Canadian capital markets.”

Kloet’s comments were not meant for TMX shareholders only, one analyst suggested.

“You can interpret that as management showing their own board they are doing just fine independently, and also playing hard to get with Maple,” Chris Damas, analyst with BCMI Research, told Markets Media.

Unsuccessful mergers and acquisitions have put a damper on earnings reports for exchange operators as of late.

TMX announced a 6 percent decline in net income for the second quarter, to $54.7 million from $58.4 million last year, which was attributed to merger-related expenses. Revenue increased 8 percent to $169.3 million. The company expensed $20.8 million in merger-related costs during the quarter. TMX can potentially be on the hook for more than twice that, as it agreed to pay LSE $29 million if a deal with Maple is consummated before June 29, 2012.

Earlier in the week, the IntercontinentalExchange reported $121.4 million in net income, which was a 19 percent increase year-over-year. The increase would have been greater if it had not been for $9.3 million in acquisition-related costs, which was up from $2 million a year prior. ICE had earlier in the year made an unsolicited bid for NYSE Euronext along with partner Nasdaq OMX before later rescinding the offer due to regulatory concerns.

Last week, Nasdaq, like TMX, reported a decline in earnings, which may have been averted if it had not made the bid for NYSE. For the second quarter, Nasdaq had $92 million in net income, off from $96 million in 2010. According to its financials, “merger and strategic initiatives” cost the exchange operator $29 million in in the quarter, with the same expenses racking up $5 million last year.

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