Nordic Bourse Operator OMX's Net Profit Rose 30%


Stock exchange owner and operator OMX reported a 34 percent rise in third-quarter operating profit on Wednesday but said little about the progress of a $4.9 billion takeover bid from Nasdaq and Borse Dubai.

Operating profit was 320 million Swedish crowns ($49.4 million) -- a record for the third quarter -- against 384 million in the second quarter and 238 million a year before.

Total revenue in the quarter was 1.0 billion crowns against 1.13 billion in the previous three months and 817 million in the year-ago quarter.

OMX benefited from financial market upheaval in the wake of problems in the U.S. subprime mortgage market which pushed up trading volumes in what is usually a more sedate quarter.

Chief Executive Magnus Bocker added the Nordic and Baltic exchange owner had managed to keep its eye on growing its business despite uncertainty about its future ownership.

After signing the firm's first deal to supply trading technology in South America, Bocker said OMX was still focused on "acquisition opportunities, opportunities related to partnerships and cooperation and opportunities related to new products and services."

In September, one-time adversaries Borse Dubai and U.S. exchange group Nasdaq agreed on a joint bid for OMX, which owns and runs exchanges in the Nordic and Baltic regions.

The plan was for Borse Dubai to buy OMX at its original price of 230 crowns ($41.63) per share, then sell it on to Nasdaq in a complex deal which would give the Dubai firm a 20 percent stake in the combined group.

The two firms, in the face of a possible bid from a Qatar-based investment firm, then sweetened the offer to 265 Swedish crowns per share and announced they had acceptances representing 47.6 percent of OMX shares.

The Qatar fund has bought nearly 10 percent of OMX.

Sources said this week that Borse Dubai and Qatar were in very early talks about a share swap involving shares in OMX and the London Stock Exchange, in which both have a holding.

OMX gave no further information about the Borse Dubai and Nasdaq bid, but Bocker said the board could give its recommendation to shareholders in January.

Shares in OMX were trading lower by 0.7 percent.

The firm said high levels of activity on its exchanges had lifted third-quarter earnings, with August a record in terms of daily share and short-term, fixed-income derivatives volumes.

OMX's technology business also saw improved revenues and profits compared to a year earlier.

Sales at the unit were seen somewhat higher in the fourth quarter compared to the second quarter, which it said was a better comparison period than the third quarter. Second-quarter revenues for the unit were 523 million crowns.

Group expenses were also seen in line with the second quarter. Bocker said the firm had received interest in its British securities administration business. However, he said OMX was still focused on strengthening the unit prior to finding a strategic partner.

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