London Stock Exchange Group (LDNXF) said Friday that it will continue to work on its proposed merger with Deutsche Boerse (DBOEY) as it posted solid full-year earnings and boosted its annual dividend.The exchange operator said adjusted operating profit rose 17% to £685.8 million as revenues increased by 14% to £1.515 billion from 2015. Operating expenses, the company said, rose 4% from the previous year to £791.6 million but "continue to be well controlled." The Board will proposed a 43.2 pence per share dividend, the company said, an increase of 20% over the previous year.
"The Group continues to work hard on its proposed merger with Deutsche Borse AG -- awaiting outcome of the European Commission Phase II process on or before 3 April 2017," the company said.
That view is a modest contrast to the group's statement earlier this week, when it revealed it was unlikely to meet a demand from the EU to sell 60% of its MTS government bond trading platform in order to comply with concerns that the €29 billion ($30.1 billion) merger with the Deutsche Boerse could hamper competition in the region's financial services sector.
"Taking all relevant factors into account, and acting in the best interests of shareholders, the LSEG Board (Sunday) concluded that it could not commit to the divestment of MTS. LSEG will therefore not be submitting a remedy proposal with respect to MTS," the statement continued. "Based on the Commission's current position, LSEG believes that the Commission is unlikely to provide clearance for the Merger."