LSE pledges to complete Refinitiv deal as volatile markets send income surging

The London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) vowed to complete its £22 billion Refinitiv deal by the end of 2020 as it posted surging income thanks to volatility in coronavirus-hit financial markets.

The group said it “remained committed” to completing the 27 billion US dollar (£21.8 billion) acquisition of the data and analytics company in the second half of the year.

It cheered a good first-quarter performance against an “unprecedented market backdrop” as it posted total income of £615 million thanks to sharply higher equity trading in capital markets and increased clearing activity.

And it confirmed it is set to pay a final dividend to shareholders, but added that it is “too early” to comment on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the outlook.

The update showed that revenues for capital markets rose 15% to £112 million, while they lifted 7% to £215 million across its information services business due to growth in subscription and asset-based revenue – including 8% growth at its FTSE Russell business.

Markets have tanked globally as coronavirus has swept across the world, with more extreme volatility than that seen during the financial crisis.

While panicked investors have headed for the exit, the market moves have also seen trading activity jump higher.

The LSE said it has been focusing its resources on “ensuring strong operational resilience across the group’s systemically important market infrastructure platforms and services”.

Its staff are working “almost entirely” on a remote basis across all locations, it added.

LSE Group chief executive David Schwimmer said: “The group has delivered a good financial performance and strong operational resilience during this unprecedented period.

“We have had a focus on ensuring orderly functioning of markets and continuity of service to customers across our businesses.”

He added: “Although market conditions are likely to remain challenging in the coming period, we believe the group is financially strong and has the necessary resources to continue to operate effectively in this environment.”