February 20, 2018 / 7:06 PM / 9 months ago

UPDATE 1-Deutsche Boerse posts rise in net profit despite weak markets

* Q4 net profit rises 26 percent, above expectations

* To propose 2017 div of 2.45 eur/shr vs Reuters poll avg 2.39 eur

* New CEO sees net profit rising “at least” 10 percent in 2018

* 6 percent rise in 2017 profit was below target of 10-15 percent (Adds details, background)

FRANKFURT, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Deutsche Boerse posted a 26 percent rise in net profit in the fourth quarter of 2017, and the German stock exchange operator said it expects a 10 percent rise in 2018 net profit despite missing its 2017 target amid weak markets.

Net profit in the quarter rose to 213.6 million euros ($263.6 million), above expectations of 192 million euros forecast in a Reuters poll of banks and brokerages.

For the full year, profit rose 6 percent to 857.1 million euros, well under its goal of a 10 to 15 percent rise. Deutsche Boerse warned in October that profit for 2017 was “very likely” to fall short of its target.

The earnings are the first since Theodor Weimer assumed the helm of the German stock exchange as its chief executive at the start of the year, and he sounded an optimistic note for 2018.

He forecast revenue growth of at least 5 percent and said he doesn’t expect further headwinds.

“Our efficient cost management will ensure the scalability of our business model so that we expect at least 10 percent net income growth for 2018,” Weimer said.

Weimer aims to open a new chapter after Deutsche Boerse was beset by an insider trading scandal, a failed merger with its London counterpart and a profit warning.

The exchange hopes that Britain’s departure from the European Union will offer Deutsche Boerse an historic opportunity to expand its business and secure a larger portion of the euro clearing business.

Weimer will speak on Deutsche Boerse’s earnings and strategy at an annual press conference on Wednesday.

Deutsche Boerse said it would propose a 2017 dividend of 2.45 euros per share, up 4 percent from the previous year. ($1 = 0.8104 euros) (Reporting by Tom Sims; Editing by Emma Thomasson and Adrian Croft)

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