ASX Limited (ASX) has entered into an underwriting agreement to sell its 18.6% shareholding in IRESS Limited (IRESS) (Sale). The Sale has been fully underwritten at a fixed price of $11.95 per share and is expected to realise gross proceeds of $385 million.
Dominic Stevens, ASX's Managing Director and CEO, said: "IRESS has been an attractive investment for ASX over many years. But we believe now is the right time to divest as it no longer provides the strategic value to ASX that it once did. ASX is focused on a multi-layered growth strategy built upon our position as an independent and reliable operator of financial market infrastructure.
Strong result amid market volatility – statutory NPAT up 6.8% to $246.1m
Continued growth in earnings per share – statutory EPS up 6.7% to 127.1 cents
On a like-for-like accounting basis NPAT1 up 10.2% and EPS up 10.1%
Solid performance in all major businesses and increased interest income drove higher shareholder returns – interim dividend up 6.7% to 114.4 cents per share
Investing in technology, risk management and operational infrastructure to strengthen foundations and create opportunities for growth that leverage ASX's core competencies
• 6 th consecutive first-half increases in NPAT and DPS
• Solid growth in all businesses driven by market activity and initiatives
• Enhanced enterprise risk management practices and policies
• Technology upgrades on-track
The directors present their report together with the financial statements of ASX Limited (ASX or the Company) and its subsidiaries (together referred to as the Group), for the half-year ended 31 December 2018 and the auditor's report thereon. The financial statements have been reviewed and approved by the directors on the recommendation of the ASX Audit and Risk Committee
First half revenue has increased to $424.7 million, a rise on the prior comparative period (pcp) of $26 million. This equates to an increase of 6.5% on a like-for-like basis with a new accounting standard that took effect this financial year, and up 3.8% on a statutory basis, which is particularly pleasing given the pcp was a record half.
Expenses for the half were broadly on track with guidance, up $9 million to $105.2 million, which is an increase of 9.4%. As discussed at the 2018 full-year results, ASX is strengthening its foundations in risk management, technology and operations. I will talk about the significant progress we've made in a moment.
Notwithstanding this investment in resilience, ASX's EBITDA is up $17 million to $319.5 million, a rise of 5.6% on a likefor-like accounting basis and 2.1% on a statutory basis. Our EBITDA margin remains at 75% for the half.