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Aquis Exchange turns in first profit as Paris arm readies for Brexit

LONDON, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Aquis Exchange said on Wednesday it has made a profit for the first time due to a rise in revenue and market share nearly seven years after it was launched.

Aquis, which competes in pan-European share trading with the London Stock Exchange and Cboe, said revenue rose 42% to 4.9 million pounds ($6.3 million) in the first half of 2020.

It made 16,000 pounds in profit after tax, compared with a loss of 623,000 pounds in the same period in 2019.

Market share for all pan-European trading rose to 4.51%, up from 3.56% in the first half of 2019. This compares with leader Cboe, which has about 20% market share in pan-European share trading.

Aquis CEO Alasdair Haynes said it hired more staff in the first half, and the full-year expectations were for “a small loss if there is a loss”.

Aquis completed its acquisition of NEX Exchange in March to become a listing as well as a secondary trading market.

Haynes said the pipeline of potential new listings is “extraordinarily good” over the next 12 to 18 months, pitting itself directly against the LSE in listings for the first time.

But Brexit remains an unknown for the company which has set up a Paris unit for trading EU-listed shares in case Britain and the bloc fail to agree terms on financial market access.

“There will be significant trading in the Paris arm in the context of a hard Brexit,” Haynes said.

Brussels has yet to say how much access to the EU it will grant securities trading platforms such as London-based Aquis.

“I am not expecting any miracles in financial services and we are fully prepared for a hard Brexit,” Haynes said.

$1 = 0.7751 pounds Reporting by Huw Jones, editing by Louise Heavens

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