* 2013 net profit 478 mln eur vs poll avg 488 mln
* Earnings hit by settlement costs for U.S. investigation
* CEO says macroeconomic environment improving
FRANKFURT, Feb 19 German exchange operator
Deutsche Boerse said it would keep its dividend
stable even after a legal settlement and shaky revenue pushed
2013 net profit down by a fourth.
Deutsche Boerse, which has been battling subdued trading
volumes on its exchanges in the wake of the euro zone debt
crisis, was hit hard last year by 129 million euros ($177
million) in costs linked to settling an investigation into the
possible violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran.
In addition, it spent nearly 90 million euros last year on a
cost saving programme, which also hurt earnings.
The company on Wednesday said full year net profit fell to
478 million euros from 645 million in 2012, slightly below the
488 million average expectation in a Reuters poll.
Its shares were down 1.5 percent in late Frankfurt trade
Deutsche Boerse plans to propose keeping its dividend for
2013 stable at 2.10 euros per share, it said.
Chief Executive Reto Francioni said he was upbeat about
growth prospects after net revenue fell by only 1 percent to
1.912 billion euros, despite challenging conditions.
"The macroeconomic environment in Europe is also showing
signs of improvement," Francioni said in a statement.
"As a result, we are optimistic about the future," he said,
without giving concrete forecasts for this year. Francioni is
due to hold a news conference on Thursday at 0900 GMT to talk
about the results.
The company said it would boost investment in growth and
infrastructure by around 30 million euros in 2014, focusing on
expanding the company's presence in Asia.