Euroclear continues to deliver profitable growth and invest in its long-term strategy
Euroclear continues to deliver profitable growth
Overall financial performance rose sharply in the first half of 2023
- Strong financial performance, with the underlying business performing well and benefitting from its diversified and resilient business model.
- Substantial growth in operating income to reach EUR 3,107 million (vs EUR 998m in H1 2022), driven by continued business income growth and higher interest earnings, including a material rise linked to the application of international sanctions on Russia.
Euroclear more than doubles underlying net profit (excluding impact of Russian sanctions)
- Underlying net profit more than doubled to reach EUR 561 million, reflecting a strong business performance and continued growth of Euroclear’s core business.
- Euroclear achieved an underlying EBITDA margin of 58.3%, an increase of 11.3 percentage points compared to the 47.0% reported in the first half of 2022. The underlying operating margin was 25.1% reflecting investment and inflationary pressures on expenses.
- Euroclear continues to invest in its strategy, its people and technology as demonstrated by the opening of a new Tech Hub in Krakow. The Tech Hub will create 400 new jobs across critical capabilities such as data, digitalisation and cyber, while also reinforcing other key functions.
- Planned investments, alongside the impact of inflation, led to an increase of 19% in underlying operating expenses, totalling EUR 628 million in H1 2023.
- On an underlying basis, earnings per share rose by 102.6% to EUR 178.3 per share, reflecting the increase in net profit.
Lieve Mostrey, Chief Executive Officer of Euroclear group, commented:
“Euroclear’s underlying performance through the first half of 2023 continues to demonstrate the robustness of its strong and diversified business model.
We remained focused on the execution of our strategy and service to our customers. We continue to invest to support our growth over the long term and despite general inflationary pressures, yet again, we generated a strong underlying performance, which further builds on the progress made over the past years.
The recent opening of our new Tech Hub in Krakow and the expansion of our service capabilities and teams groupwide further accelerates delivery of our purpose to innovate to bring safety, efficiency, and connections to financial markets for sustainable economic growth.”
Euroclear’s underlying business income improved in H1 2023 to reach a record EUR 838 million, an increase of 3% year-on-year.
The major policy rates continue to increase which has led to a large increase in interest earnings. On an underlying basis, H1 2023 interest, banking and other income progressed by 571% to EUR 538 million.
Euroclear continues to expect operating expenses to remain above its 'through-the-cycle' target of 4-6% p.a. throughout 2023, due to accelerating investment in both its strategy and the resilience of the business, coupled with one-off investments and continued high inflation impact on the cost base.
Once again, Euroclear’s business model has proven itself to be a hedge against market volatility. When equity markets are lower, the impact is mitigated by the group’s diversified and subscription-like business model, and benefits in a similar vein when bond markets are weaker, as approximately three quarters of the group’s business income is decoupled from financial market valuations. The operating entities which have a greater relative weighting to the bond markets, and saw business income grow, help mitigate any potential impact of lower equity valuations and transaction volumes.
The key operating metrics demonstrate a strong business performance during the period. Following last year’s record levels in transaction volumes driven by highly volatile markets, the number of transactions in H1 2023 is 2.2% lower. With little change in equity market valuations, assets under custody and fund assets under custody have slightly increased.
To further help investors make better informed decisions and manage their portfolios, Euroclear announced a partnership with BondCliQ Inc, a credit market focused Data as a Service (DaaS) company. Through this partnership, Euroclear will launch a new European fixed income settlement data solution, allowing market participants to gain valuable insights and intelligence, including unparalleled levels of access to refined fixed income settlement data through customised dashboards.
Consistent with its strategy centred on people and technology, Euroclear continues to grow its Krakow facility with the creation of a new Tech Hub and the addition of 400 new jobs in Poland. During Euroclear’s 10 years in Krakow, it has seen its office grow to approximately 800 staff who primarily work in operations, support, and control functions.
As MFEXbyEuroclear is entering the next phase of integration, Euroclear continues to enhance its proposition for funds services. This includes services in private markets assets, where Euroclear has recently announced the completion of the acquisition of Goji, a UK-based FinTech providing digital access and technology-enabled solutions to private markets.
Euroclear further improved its funds data services offering with the first release of a new funds market intelligence product. This cloud-based data analytics platform, designed to help Funds Management Companies improve their distribution strategy, has successfully onboarded its first pilot users.
Aligned to the group’s strategy of embracing innovation to the benefit of capital markets, Euroclear recently joined existing strategic international investors in the third fund of Illuminate Financial. Illuminate Financial, a financial services-focused venture firm, has closed this $235 million new fund to invest in early-stage businesses solving problems for financial institutions.
On 3 July 2023, LCH SA merged its core RepoClear Euro debt service with €GCPlus to provide alternative channels to access general collateral (GC) liquidity. €GCPlus, a general collateral tri-party basket repo clearing service, was initially launched in 2014 by LCH SA in collaboration with Euroclear and Banque de France. The new combined service aims to enable a unique point of access to the world’s largest Euro cleared liquidity pool with clearing members benefitting from a single membership, default fund and set of margins, and further netting opportunities.
ESG is key to Euroclear’s business strategy. Euroclear’s ESG mission is to support and enable a sustainable financial marketplace, while limiting our impact on the environment, providing an equitable and inclusive workplace, and conducting business in an ethical and responsible way.
Euroclear continues to mature its approach to sustainability, notably with the publication of an expanded Annual Sustainability Report in May 2023 reporting, for the first time, according to the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). The Annual Sustainability Report can be found here:
In addition, Euroclear published a comprehensive transversal ESG Policy setting out the minimum requirements for the Group in the areas of Environment, Social and Governance. This policy can be found here:
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine resulted in market-wide application of international sanctions, which have had a material impact on Euroclear. Since considerable uncertainties persist, the Board considers it necessary to separate the estimated sanction-related earnings from the underlying financial results when assessing the company’s performance and resources.
Well-established processes are in place which allow the group to implement the sanctions, while maintaining the normal course of business. However, one consequence of the sanctions is that blocked coupon payments and redemptions owed to sanctioned entities results in an accumulation of cash on Euroclear Bank’s balance sheet. At the end of June 2023, Euroclear Bank’s balance sheet had increased by EUR 47 billion year-on-year to a total of EUR 150 billion.
As per Euroclear’s standard process, which is the same for any client’s long cash balances, the cash balances arising from the sanctions are invested to minimise credit risk. Managing such credit risk is a requirement under Capital Requirements Regulation. The interest paid on reinvestment of cash balances is net interest income earned by Euroclear. Over H1 2023, interest arising on cash balances from Russia-sanctioned assets was EUR 1,743 million.
Such interest earnings are driven by two factors: (i) the prevailing interest rates and (ii) the amount of cash balances that Euroclear is required to invest. As such, future earnings will be influenced by the evolving interest rate environment and the size of cash balances as the sanctions evolve.
At present, the Board expects the growth rate of interest income to slow in the second half of 2023 as blocked payments and redemptions accumulate less rapidly and as economists’ consensus forecasts anticipate a more stable interest rate environment.
In parallel, the European Commission is contemplating various options to use the profits generated by sanctioned amounts held by financial institutions, including Euroclear, for the financing of Ukraine’s reconstruction.
Euroclear is focused on minimising potential legal, technical, and operational risks that may arise for itself and its clients from the implementation of any proposals from the European Commission. The company continues to act in a transparent manner with all authorities involved. The Board will continue to act cautiously, retaining profits related to the Russian sanctions until the situation becomes clearer.
Currently, Euroclear is faced with a high level of complexity in managing both the wide-ranging package of sanctions and a set of complex economic countermeasures, which Russia has implemented since it does not recognise the international sanctions. Euroclear allocates considerable time and resources to manage the market issues and implications of these countermeasures while maintaining regular dialogue with clients and other stakeholders.
Various parties contest the consequences of the application of sanctions and countermeasures, with legal proceedings ongoing in both the European Union and Russia. While recognising the scale of the sanctions and the speed of implementation, Euroclear’s assessment is these legal proceedings are not considered a material risk at present and, so far, they have not incurred any material financial impact.
Overall, Euroclear incurred additional direct costs from the management of Russian sanctions of €21 million in the first half of 2023, with considerable senior management and Board focus on the topic. Additionally, the international sanctions and Russian countermeasures have resulted in a loss of activities from sanctioned clients and Russian securities, which negatively impacted business income by €11 million.
Euroclear maintains a strong capital position and a low-risk profile, which allows the group to finance further growth plans. Both S&P and Fitch Ratings reconfirmed the AA rating of Euroclear Bank in June 2023. Fitch also assigned the issuing entity of the group, Euroclear Investments SA (EINV), a Viability Rating at 'aa-'.
The group capital ratios remain solid, despite the sizable increase of its balance sheet due to the Russian sanctions. Fitch notes that “Euroclear’s investment guidelines for the bank's portfolio are particularly conservative, limiting holdings to highly liquid securities with strong ratings. Euroclear Bank applies a similarly low-risk policy when re-investing cash proceedings from frozen Russian assets.”
On 20 July 2023, Euroclear will pay its previously announced dividend relating to the 2022 underlying business results of EUR 115.5 per share (for a total of EUR 363.5 million), representing a 31% increase compared to the dividend on 2021 results.
Euroclear Bank and Euroclear Investments are the two group issuing entities. The summary income statements and financial positions at Q2 2023 for both entities are shown below.
Euroclear Investments has been relocated from Luxembourg to Belgium on 31 December 2022 at midnight. The financial statements are now prepared under Belgian GAAP, and the 2022 have been restated accordingly.
Euroclear group is the financial industry’s trusted provider of post trade services. Guided by its purpose, Euroclear innovates to bring safety, efficiency and connections to financial markets for sustainable economic growth. Euroclear provides settlement and custody of domestic and cross-border securities for bonds, equities and derivatives, and investment funds. As a proven, resilient capital market infrastructure, Euroclear is committed to delivering risk-mitigation, automation and efficiency at scale for its global client franchise. The Euroclear group comprises Euroclear Bank, the International CSD, as well as Euroclear Belgium, Euroclear Finland, Euroclear France, Euroclear Nederland, Euroclear Sweden, Euroclear UK & International and MFEXbyEuroclear.
"Euroclear’s underlying performance through the first half of 2023 continues to demonstrate the robustness of its strong and diversified business model. We remain focused on the execution of our strategy and service to our customers."
Lieve Mostrey, Chief Executive Officer, Euroclear group
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