Spanish Stock Market Now Fourth Biggest In Europe, Says BME

Bolsas y Mercados Espaoles (BME) posted a net profit of 201.13 million in 2007, a year over year increase of 54.1%. BME's General Shareholders Meeting, which was held today in Madrid, agreed to pay a 47.6 million final gross dividend

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Bolsas y Mercados Espaoles (BME) posted a net profit of 201.13 million in 2007, a year-over-year increase of 54.1%.

BME’s General Shareholders Meeting, which was held today in Madrid, agreed to pay a 47.6 million final gross dividend 0.569 per share charged against the company’s voluntary reserves. The dividend will be paid on 21 May 2008.

The board of directors also agreed to pay out a 84.9 million final dividend – 1.01 per share- which combined with the 79.9 million distributed last January leaves a 82% pay-out for the company.

In May BME will pay the final and the extraordinary dividends, which combined amount to 132.5 million. “This represents a high dividend yield, placing BME at the top of the ranking among IBEX 35 companies”, says Antonio Zoido, chairman, BME.

The chairman of Bolsas y Mercados Espaoles also stressed that BME has practically tripled its net profit in only four years. A positive trend underpinned by its strength and forward-looking orientation, which point to the reliability of its business model. This is in turn reflected in efficiency improvements that have been matched by the company’s ongoing activities.

During the meeting Zoido described BME’s business model as integrated, diversified, technologically advanced, under tight cost control, and very efficient.

The fact that the Spanish stock market ranks fourth in Europe is significant if we take into account that Spain ranks fifth on GDP, behind Germany, the UK, France, and Italy. Hence the Spanish stock market punches above its weight in terms of corresponding GDP and it is closing the gap that separates it from markets whose GDP is three or four times higher than Spain’s.

The most significant result is the admission of new shares to the equity market, placing the Spanish market in second place in the world in terms of new investment flows.

Ultimately, the good 2007 results are rooted in the high degree of efficiency that the company achieved throughout the year.

“in 2007 for the first time, revenues generated not related to market volume exceeded the costs that support the entire company. Three years earlier, in 2004, they covered only 69% of costs. This is very significant and explains the good progress made in the diversification of operations and the excellent results achieved in businesses independent of trading volume in the markets that we manage,” says Zoido.

Measured by cost as a ratio to income, efficiency improved sharply from 33.5% in 2006 to 25.6% in 2007.

“Earnings generated in 2007 reflect group synergies stemming from an innovation process which is allowing us to further diversify revenue sources and bolster BME’s ability to respond in the current competitive and changing environment.

“The ability to generate new business lines and new products and services is one of the most positive consequences of the dimension BME has acquired thanks to its organisational soundness, the integration and coordination of its teams and powerful technology”, adds Zoido.

During the meeting Zoido made some brief comments on the financial turmoil affecting the market since the summer of 2007 and its impact on world stock exchanges.

In his speech,

said: “profits in the first quarter totalled 55.4 million, which represents a 10% rise from the same quarter a year earlier and a record high for the company,” says Javier Hernani, finance director, BME.

In 2007 the company hit a new record in terms of net profits, at 201.1 million, 54.1% up from a year earlier. “This excellent result the outcome of the combination of a 33.1% increase in the company’s revenues to 383.1million and the outstanding trend followed by total expenses, which increased by 1.8% over the year. In absolute terms, revenue grew by 95.4 million while expenses did so by 1.7 million,” says Hernani.

BME has a very positive leverage, which enables it efficiently to convert it into profit. The company’s improved efficiency ratios rank BME in the international stock market sector as an industry leader that operates one of the most sound and competitive business model.

“The proposal for the application of BME results, which was today put to the vote, is for the distribution of 1.016 per share, a 84.9 million final dividend. Payment of this dividend will be made effective on May 7th. If we add this amount to the interim dividend distributed on January 22nd, it leaves a gross ordinary dividend of 1.97 per share – 165 million which represents a 65% increase on 2006,” says Hernani.

In her speech to the General Meeting, the Chairwoman of BME’s Audit Committee, Margarita Prat, an independent director of the company, reviewed the committee’s activities in 2007. She highlighted the committee’s approval of the company’s annual accounts and management report both individual and consolidated for 2007.

In his speech, the Chairman of the Appointments and Remuneration Committee, Manuel Olivencia, an independent director of the company, provided information on the committee’s activities during the year. He highlighted the reports in favour of the appointment by co-option of Ricardo Laiseca Asla and Mariano Prez Claver as new non-independent directors, the reappointment of Jos Barreiro Hernndez as director and the appointment of Cristina Bajo Martnez as non-director, deputy secretary of the board of directors.

These three new appointments today were approved at the General Meeting today.