LCH.Clearnet buys back shares

LCH.Clearnet, Europe’s biggest independent clearing house, moved to shrink its shareholder base with an offer to buy out settlement house Euroclear’s stake as part of a €444m (£405.4m) payout. LCH, which has been under pressure to revamp its investor structure, said yesterday it would buy back up to 45 per cent of its shares and pay a dividend to its owners, mostly major banks that clear trades on its systems. The news came as it reported a net operating profit of €293.6m in the financial year ended December 2008, up 14 per cent from a year ago.