ASX taps investors for $553m

The Australian Securities Exchange has tapped investors for $553 million in fresh funds to help it compete with foreign clearing houses, and to pay debt on its share trading clearance business.
杭州桑拿

ASX chief Elmer Funke Kupper said $250 million of the capital raising would be used to repay unsecured non-recourse debt related to ASX Clearing Corporation.

A further $200 million would be invested in the company’s clearing house for futures and options trading, while $89 million would be used for unspecified ”future growth opportunities”.

New shares will be offered to existing investors at $30 a share. This represents a discount of 16 per cent to the closing price last Friday. ASX shares remain on a trading halt until Wednesday.

The capital raising will be fully underwritten by UBS, although the offer will dilute earnings per share by 5.1 per cent.

The company also issued an update on its performance in the financial year to date, indicating profit will grow by 2 per cent from the previous year.

It warned it would pay a final dividend of 81¢, about 12 per cent below analysts’ forecasts. Its full-year profit would be about $346 million, just below market forecasts.

”The world of finance has higher [regulatory] standards than it ever had,” Mr Funke Kupper said. ”The translation of these requirements into the official standards is still settling down in the world of regulation, but we expect they will come into force either directly through the Australian standards or because we need to be accredited by European [and American] regulators.

”We need to be accredited by European and American regulators, because a number of our clients are European and American banks.”

”If you want to pay on the global stage … you need to adhere to the highest available standards, and that’s what we expect to do with this capital raising,” he said.

The capital raising took some analysts by surprise, particularly as the exchange was jumping ahead of new global rules on clearing and settlement, which are still being finalised.

Deutsche Bank analyst Kieran Chidgey said: ”With clearing house regulations still developing, ASX has clearly been pre-emptive here, suggesting this could also be partly a strategic defensive move which increases the barriers to entry for clearing competition.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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