By Huw Jones
LONDON – Euronext’s integration of Borsa Italiana is reaping savings faster than expected for potential acquisitions, though no “actionable” target has been identified, the pan-European exchange’s CEO Stephane Boujnah said on Thursday.
Euronext acquired the Milan exchange last year, the latest in a string of bourse acquisitions which has made it Europe’s biggest share trading pool, Boujnah said.
Faster-than-anticipated savings and a billion euros in surplus cash means the exchange has more flexibility when it comes to mergers and acquisitions, he added.
“We don’t at the current moment have an identified, actionable target,” Boujnah told Reuters.
Euroclear, the pan-European settlement house in which Euronext has a stake, was not an actionable takeover target, Boujnah told a media call.
Increasing the exchange’s presence in environment, social and governance (ESG) or sustainable investing, along with promoting a new tech listing segment, were now top priorities, he said.
Euronext reported fourth quarter 2021 revenue and income of 370 million euros, up 59.5%, lifted by the Borsa acquisition. Operating profit rose to 150.6 million euros, compared with 98.6 million euros in the same quarter of 2020.
Underlying operating costs for 2022 are expected to total around 622 million euros, compared with an annualised fourth quarter of 2021 of 627 million euros, Euronext said.
There were already 10 million euros in annualised savings related to Borsa Italiana and other factors last year, out of a target of 100 million by end 2024, helping to cut Euronext group’s overall net debt, the exchange said.
Euronext declined to estimate savings for 2022.
Boujnah reiterated there would be no mandatory layoffs in Milan, with any cuts in staff made on a voluntary basis, and that over time, more resources will end up in Italy.
The exchange expects to pay an annual dividend of 1.93 euros per share for 2021.
Euronext said the relocation of its main server from Basildon, England to Bergamo in Italy by the start of June was on track.
All large and medium sized customers have signed to the new server, along with most of the smaller customers, Boujnah said.
(Reporting by Huw Jones, editing by Emma-Victoria Farr, Kirsten Donovan)