London Stock Exchange income rises, Refinitiv savings on track

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LONDON (Reuters) -The London Stock Exchange Group (LON:LSEG) reported a 3.9% rise in income in the first quarter and said savings from integrating its $27 billion acquisition of data and analytics company Refinitiv were on target.

About 40 million pounds ($55.5 million) of savings in combined operating costs from the Refinitiv takeover had been realised and new products launched, the group said.

It said it remained confident of achieving 25% of the announced 350 million pounds savings target by the end of 2021, in line with previous guidance.

The group completed its $27 billion takeover of Refinitiv in January, turning the 300-year-old exchange into a financial market data giant overnight, although still number two behind leader Bloomberg LP.

In March, it spooked markets by saying integrating Refinitiv would cost a higher-than-expected $1 billion, sending LSE shares tumbling. They have fallen about 20% since March 4, although the stock climbed more than 2% on the day on Wednesday.

In a further setback, Refinitiv’s data terminals suffered a blackout lasting several hours this month.

The group said it would hold investor events to give a “deeper insight” into the newly enlarged business, with the first on July 2 giving an overview of data and analytics.

RBC analysts said the “robust” first quarter figures pointed to a strong start in the delivery of cost synergies. Total income of 1.68 billion pounds and gross profit of 1.5 billion pounds were both in line with market expectations, it said.

The group said its divestment of Borsa Italiana was progressing and expected to be completed in the second quarter.

The LSE had said it would sell the Milan Exchange in order to win approval for its Refinitiv takeover from European Union competition regulators. Euronext is buying the Italian bourse.

The LSE holds its annual meeting online at 1100 GMT on Wednesday. Advisory group ISS is recommending shareholders vote against Chief Executive David Schwimmer’s 25% pay rise because of the higher-than-expected costs of integrating Refinitiv.

Thomson Reuters (NYSE:TRI) the parent company of Reuters News, holds a 15% stake in the LSE following the Refinitiv deal.

($1 = 0.7206 pounds)