TP ICAP cautious on raising forecasts after first-quarter boom

(Reuters) - TP ICAP Plc TCAPI.L, the world's largest inter-dealer broker, saw revenue rise by almost a fifth in the first quarter, as its broking business benefited from the gyrations in financial markets caused by the coronavirus and collapsing oil prices.

The company, which brings together buyers and sellers in financial, energy and commodities markets and benefits when volatility and transaction volumes are higher, said revenue rose 17% at constant exchange rates to 547 million pounds ($671.66 million) in the three months ended March 31.

The company, however, maintained its full-year outlook of low single-digit revenue growth, and added that it would defer much of the targeted investment spending it had promised in March.

“Our group has performed strongly in Q1, but it is too early to fully assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to our full year outlook,” Chief Executive Officer Nicolas Breteau said.

Revenue from the company’s broking division, its largest, rose 10% to 359 million pounds while that from energy and commodities saw a 26% jump to 117 million pounds and institutional services division 85% to 37 million pounds.

In March, TP ICAP said it witnessed record-breaking trading volumes as the coronavirus outbreak sent stock and oil markets globally shooting lower, driving record-breaking volumes of trading by banks and other major institutions.

Smaller online retail trading platforms like Plus500 Ltd PLUSP.L and IG Group IGG.L have also reported a surge in client trading as the sell-off drove a boom in financial betting by individual traders stuck at home.

TP ICAP also said it continues to intend to restructure the group under a new holding company in Jersey.

Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Patrick Graham