ASX lifts first-half profit

Group credits improved global economy, uplift in listings activity; calls for '10-year game plan' for sector.

ASX (ASX) has posted a strong lift in first-half profit, buoyed by improved global economic conditions and an uplift in listings activity in Australia, as it called for a "10-year game plan" across the financial services sector.

In the six months to December 31, the bourse operator posted a net profit of $189.6 million, a 10.8% improvement on the $171.1 million recorded in the previous corresponding period.

In the same period, revenue was $405.2 million, a 4.5% increase on the $387.6 million recorded in the first-half of fiscal 2013.

The group will pay a fully-franked interim dividend of 88.2 cents on March 26 to shareholders on the register at March 7.

Chief executive officer Elmer Funke Kupper said that during the period all major ASX business lines increased revenue year-on-year for the first time since the global financial crisis.

Meanwhile, the group welcomed its involvement in the government's financial services inquiry, calling for a "10-year game plan" for the industry against which regulatory and policy decisions would be measured.

"It comes at an important time for our financial markets", ASX managing director and chief executive Elmer Funke Kupper said.

"It is less about the settings in Australia and more about the competitiveness of Australia. This will require a focus on the relative strengths of our financial system compared to other markets."

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