In the first half of 2004, GL TRADE generated turnover of €72.8m, an increase of 16.5%. This figure includes the acquisition of MSTS (London and Asia) and GLESIA (Italy). At constant exchange rates, turnover rose by 19.2%. GL TRADE is continuing to expand abroad, and 79% of turnover now comes from outside France, as opposed to 73% in full-year 2003.
The UK, France and Italy are now GL TRADE’s three largest European markets. In the USA, turnover rose by 11% in dollar terms. Asian turnover surged by 88% on the back of the MSTS acquisition and the regional economic recovery.
GL Trade says operating margins in the newly-integrated MSTS and GLESIA businesses did not match those achieved in GL TRADE’s main activities, due to restructuring costs. Since most of this restructuring had been completed by the middle of the year, says the company, GL TRADE’s overall second-half EBITDA margin is likely to be close to 19%. As a result of exceptional items, net margin before goodwill amortisation came in at 12.7%, in line with the forecast of between 12% and 13%.
GL TRADE strengthened its position in Italy by joining forces with its local distributor in February. In early July, GL TRADE announced the acquisition of Iris, a Dutch company employing 12 staff and specialising in Market Making Options.
While pursing its organic growth in areas where market conditions are favourable, GL TRADE has now become a consolidation platform in its markets. The Group is actively looking for new acquisition targets that will either bolster its position in particular markets or add products that fit well with its existing range. GL TRADE is looking particularly at targets in the USA, where it intends to develop its market position.
As announced when Reuters sold its stake in GL TRADE, the board of directors decided on 27 July to cancel shares bought back directly by GL TRADE, representing 8% of the capital. This reduced shareholders’ equity by €21m, and GL TRADE’s free float is now 32.3%.
GL TRADE’s first-half commercial performance means that it can confirm the turnover growth target it set at the start of the year, i.e. 15-20% for full-year 2004 at constant exchange rates. As a result, net margin before goodwill amortisation is likely to remain between 12% and 13% for the full year.