LSE chief shrugs off UK companies switching listings to US

The chief executive of the London Stock Exchange Group has shrugged off an escalating series of moves by UK companies to shift their listings from London to the US, as the world’s largest building materials group dealt the latest blow by planning to ditch its listing.

Asked about the decision by CRH on Thursday, David Schwimmer said: “If companies are going to make decisions when most of their business is in the US, that sort of is what it is.”

His comments come as several British companies seek to delist from the London Stock Exchange, or list elsewhere. CRH said on Thursday that it was planning to drop its London listing in favour of New York. Earlier this week, the Financial Times reported that Shell’s top executives had explored moving the Anglo-Dutch energy group to the US

“We will look forward to continuing to attract companies to this market and London continues to be a great listing venue,” Schwimmer said.

He added that “there’s a real opportunity to continue to improve” the attractiveness of London for companies exploring initial public offerings.

Schwimmer pointed to the UK government’s Edinburgh reforms as a “good step in that direction” and said that while stories about companies ditching London “tend to get a lot of focus . . . LSE is a great part of our business but it’s less than 3 or 4 per cent of our total revenues”.

The group reported revenues of £7.4bn for 2022 on Thursday. The company said it would seek shareholder approval in April to buy back £750mn worth of shares from investors including private equity group Blackstone, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC and Thomson Reuters, all former Refinitiv shareholders. The consortium held a 30 per cent stake in LSEG, said Schwimmer.

LSEG bought data business Refinitiv from the Blackstone and Thomson Reuters consortium for $27bn in 2017 and has since been integrating the company, boosting its data offering to customers, which range from global banks to asset managers.

The company expects to buy back £750mn of shares by April 2024. A total of £300mn of a separate £750mn share buyback was executed in 2022, with the rest to be bought in July.

Its data and analytics business accounts for about 70 per cent of LSEG’s revenues and rose 4 per cent to £4.9bn.

Revenues at its capital markets business rose 10 per cent to £1.5bn, with earnings from equities that include listings rising just 3 per cent, reflecting the quiet year for IPOs.

LSEG’s operating profits rose 2 per cent to £1.4bn, helped by “favourable” foreign currency movements. The company is offering a dividend of 107 pence per share to be paid in May.

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