FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Deutsche Boerse (DB1Gn.DE) is aiming to win a quarter of the lucrative euro clearing market from London as Britain leaves the European Union, the German stock exchange operator’s new chief executive said on Wednesday.
Theodor Weimer also said he was reviewing the company’s strategy and costs, and would provide details in late May. He added acquisitions could be part of his plans, with 1.3 billion euros ($1.6 billion) on hand.
The comments at an annual press conference are the most extensive since Weimer took over as CEO at the start of the year. Weimer is seeking to open a new chapter after Deutsche Boerse was hit by an insider trading scandal, a failed merger with its London counterpart and a profit warning.
“The course for the future will be set in 2018, and we now have a unique opportunity to build a credible alternative to London,” he said. “We need a second euro clearer for Europe, one that is within the EU27: here in Frankfurt.”
The London Stock Exchange’s (LSE.L) LCH unit currently dominates the clearing of euro-denominated trades. But the EU has said it would like this business to stay within the bloc after Brexit, threatening jobs in London and its position as Europe’s leading financial center.
A clearing house provides a vital market function, standing between two sides of a trade and backed by a default fund to ensure a transaction is completed even if one side goes bust.
Last year, Deutsche Boerse introduced a profit-sharing scheme on interest rate swaps at its clearing business, aiming to wrest trade from London.
Weimer said on Wednesday it had signed up 25 banks and was well positioned to win 25 percent of the 1 trillion euros ($1.2 trillion) a day clearing business over the next few years.
The company expects such a market share would result in 70 million euros in additional revenue annually.
It said its daily average clearing of interest rate swaps had grown seven-fold from a year ago to 35 billion euros.
In addition to clearing, Weimer pointed to opportunities for the company’s data business, and possible acquisitions as areas for expansion.
“I see a whole range of opportunities for us to grow,” he said.
“Acquisition-driven growth is a staple of our sector,” he added. “Because the stock exchange business is a scale business, size is vital for our success.”
However, Weimer said any deals would not be major, and the strategy review wouldn’t be revolutionary.
The company missed its full-year profit target for 2017 as low market volatility weighed on its business, its earnings published on Tuesday showed, but it expects a rise in net profit of “at least” 10 percent in 2018.
($1 = 0.8119 euros)
Reporting by Tom Sims; Editing by Maria Sheahan and Mark Potter