(Alliance News) - Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd on Thursday said its financial results last year were the second best on record, though still below what it called an "exceptional 2021", despite a soft finish.

Attributable profit in 2023 was HKD11.86 billion, about USD1.51 billion, up 18% from HKD10.08 billion in 2022, though still below HKD12.54 billion in 2021.

Core business revenue was HKD18.94 billion, up 3.1% from HKD18.37 billion.

In the fourth quarter alone, attributable profit was HKD2.60 billion, down 13% from HKD2.98 billion a year before, on core revenue of HKD4.52 billion, down 5.4% from HKD4.77 billion.

Basic earnings per share were HKD9.37 in 2023, up 18% from HKD7.96 in 2022, and were HKD2.05 in the fourth quarter, down 13% from HKD2.35 a year before.

HKEX explained that revenue declined in the fourth quarter due to reduced trading and clearing fees from Cash & Derivatives Markets, partly offset by an increase in London Metal Exchange trading and clearing fees and by higher net investment income from Margin Funds and Clearing House Funds.

HKEX declared a final dividend of HKD3.91, up 6.0% from HKD3.69 a year before. This gave a full-year payout of HKD8.41, up 18% from HKD7.14.

"Looking ahead, whilst the macroeconomic and geopolitical environment remains turbulent, we are cautiously optimistic that, as sentiment improves, we are well placed to capitalise on the global pivot to Asia, on Hong Kong's unique role as an East-West superconnector, on our unrivalled China advantage and on the megatrends, such as sustainability, that are shaping capital markets around the world," said Chief Executive Officer Nicolas Aguzin.

HKEX shares closed down 0.8% at HKD242.80 in Hong Kong on Thursday.

By Tom Waite, Alliance News editor

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