(Alliance News) - London Stock Exchange Group PLC on Thursday said it has delivered on all the targets it set for its acquisition of Refinitiv and is set to release the first artificial intelligence-based products from its partnership with Microsoft Corp.

While the focus of LSEG's annual results was on the Data & Analytics business, Chief Executive Officer David Schwimmer also said the company is "seeing an encouraging IPO pipeline for the London Stock Exchange", amid concern that big initial public offerings are taking place in New York, rather than London.

LSEG reported pretax profit of GBP1.20 billion 2023, down 3.7% from GBP1.24 billion in 2022.

Total income including recoveries was GBP8.38 billion, up 8.2% from GBP7.74 billion and slightly better than market consensus of GBP8.36 billion. LSEG said income growth was broad-based across the business, with Data & Analytics income up 7.3%, Capital Markets up 6.1%, and Post Trade up 17%.

Group adjusted operating profit was GBP2.86 billion, exactly as consensus expected and up 4.9% from GBP2.73 billion in 2022.

LSEG declared a final dividend of 79.3 pence per share. Combined with the interim payout of 35.7p, this gave a full-year dividend of 115.0p, up 7.5% from 107.0p.

The company said it plans GBP1 billion in share buybacks in 2024, down from GBP1.2 billion in 2023. The 2024 buybacks will be done directly from the Blackstone/Thomson Reuters consortium, from which LSEG purchased Refinitiv at the start of 2021 and a major shareholder in LSEG as a result.

Back at the end of 2022, LSEG and Microsoft signed a 10-year cooperation agreement under which Microsoft bought a 4.2% stake in LSEG, which committed to buying Microsoft products in return. The pair also aim to jointly develop market data and financial markets infrastructure products.

"In Data & Analytics, customers will shortly be using the first products from our partnership with Microsoft," CEO Schwimmer said. "Together, we will transform how financial markets participants communicate, research, analyse data and trade."

LSEG said the first of these AI products will be released in the first half of 2024.

Shares were down 2.2% at 8,716.27 pence in London early Thursday.

By Tom Waite, Alliance News editor

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