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New business boosts ASX H1 profit to $231m

A jump in capital raising and futures trading activity has helped stock exchange operator ASX Limited lift half-year profit, as it continues with its diversification strategy by adding foreign and technology listings.

ASX Limited's net profit for the six months to December 31 rose by 5.1 per cent to $230.5 million, on the back of an eight per cent revenue jump to $501.5 million.

As the Australian exchange operator looks to diversify its earnings streams, chief executive Dominic Stevens said ASX had made good progress on its previously announced plans to increase foreign and technology company listings.

ASX added 18 foreign listings in the six-month period, taking the total number of foreign listings to 279.

At the same time tech listings grew by 11 to a total 220, with the ASX tech sector having grown 140 per cent in the past three years.

Mr Stevens said investments in new data and technical capacity were also driving new business as customers around the world sought cheaper, simpler services.

"We see these opportunities as complementary to our traditional areas of focus," he said.

ASX-listed companies raised $33.9 billion in secondary capital raisings during the six months to December 31, a substantial increase on the $25.8 billion raised in the previous corresponding half-year that helped boost ASX Ltd's revenue from listings and issuer services by 10 per cent to $113.5 million.

And while new listings on the Australian Securities Exchange were lower in the first half of 2017/18 at 77, compared to 86 a year earlier, the total value of IPOs was almost unchanged at $11 billion.

Mr Stevens said ASX was working towards implementing new blockchain, or distributed ledger, technology to replace its current CHESS settlement system, with an update due in March on the new system's start date and capabilities.

ASX shares were up $1.94, or 3.6 per cent, to $56.04 at 1418 AEDT.

ASX TAKES STOCK OF A BUMPER HY18:

* Net profit up 5.1 per cent to $230.5m

* Revenue up 7.8 per cent to $501.5m

* Interim dividend 107.2 cents, fully franked, up from 102 cents

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