London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) said on Friday (3 March) that it was continuing to work hard to ensure its proposed €29bn (£24.6bn) merger deal with Germany's Deutsche Börse goes ahead, despite increasing regulatory issues.
Last week, the company said the deal was in doubt, after the European Commission unexpectedly raised new concerns about the viability of the sale of LCH, LSE's clearing arm.
In December, LSE had proposed the possibility of selling LCH to Euronext to address anti-trust concerns raised earlier by the Commission in regards to the tie-up with Deutsche Börse, which would see London Stock Exchange shareholders own 45.6% of the new holding company with the rest being held by Deutsche Börse shareholders.
LSE added the European Commission's decision on the Phase II probe is expected on or before 3 April this year.
That came as the FTSE 100-listed company reported a 21% year-on-year increase in pre-tax profits in the 12 months to 31 December to £623.1m, while adjusted operating profits climbed 17% from the previous year to £685.8m.
Total income also surged 17% year-on-year to £1.66bn ($2.04bn), while revenue climbed 14% to £1.52bn, thanks to a strong financial performance across all business areas. The positive results prompted LSE to increase its final proposed dividend to 31.2p, which will translate in a full year dividend of 43.2p per share, 20% higher than in the corresponding period a year ago.
"The group continues to execute against its strategic objectives, driving both short and longer term growth through organic investment and selective inorganic opportunities," said chief executive Xavier Rolet.
"This has resulted in another year of strong financial performance, with continued revenue growth and control of underlying expenses. We remain well positioned across all our businesses, underpinned by our Open Access approach and strong customer partnerships."