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LSE H1 Pre-tax Profit Nearly Flat; Lifts Dividend; Issues Update On Refinitiv Deal

London Stock Exchange Group Plc (LSE.L) reported Friday that its first-half profit before tax was 362 million pounds, compared to last year's 363 million pounds. Basic earnings per share fell 9 percent to 64.6 pence from 70.7 pence a year ago.

Adjusted profit before tax was 553 million pounds, compared to 497 million pounds a year earlier. Adjusted earnings per share were 112.0 pence, compared to 100.6 pence last year.

Adjusted EBITDA margin was broadly unchanged at 54.6 percent, compared to 54.5 percent last year.

Total revenue grew 4 percent to 1.06 billion pounds from prior year's 1.02 billion pounds. Revenue was up 3 percent on an organic and constant currency basis.

Total income went up 8 percent from last year to 1.24 billion pounds.

Further, the company said its Directors have declared an interim dividend of 23.3 pence per share, an increase of 16 percent. The interim dividend will be paid on September 22 to shareholders on the register on August 21.

Looking ahead, the company said, "The full impact of COVID-19 on working patterns, customer behaviour and product development is difficult to anticipate but have demonstrated we can adapt quickly and successfully across the Group."

Separately, the company noted that despite the challenges, it is well positioned to continue to develop and to make further progress on strategic plans, including closing the Refinitiv transaction. The company expects to close the Refinitiv transaction by the end of 2020 or early in 2021.

LSE confirmed that the United States Department of Justice has closed its antitrust investigation of the transaction without remedies.

In the context of the European Commission's Phase II review, LSE confirmed that it has commenced exploratory discussions which may result in a sale of LSEG's interest in MTS or potentially the Borsa Italiana group as a whole.

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