Plus grows its market share

PLUS Markets Group yesterday said its first half losses more than doubled due to weak capital markets activity and litigation costs, despite growing its share of UK equity trading to over 10 per cent last month as it continued to win business from rivals.<br /><br />Plus, which last week concluded a &pound;5m equity fundraising with Middle Eastern investor syndicate Amara Dhari, said pre-tax losses widened 137 per cent to &pound;5.7m over the six months to end of June. Revenue over the period fell 6.9 per cent to &pound;1.49m.<br /><br />The group blamed the weak performance on continued subdued levels of trading and legal costs associated with an unanticipated delay in obtaining the right to trade stocks quoted on rival Aim, which amounted to around &pound;2.5m.<br /><br />But the exchange said its share by volume of the UK equity trading market rose to over 10 per cent in August, well ahead of rivals Chi-X and Turquoise.<br />Over 36bn shares were traded on Plus over the first half of the year, up more than 200 per cent on the same period in 2008.<br /><br />&ldquo;Having commenced trading in Aim securities, Plus now offers complete UK stock coverage on its trading platform,&rdquo; said chief executive Simon Brickles. &ldquo;This includes the small and mid-cap market where PLUS has a very strong comparative advantage.&rdquo;<br /><br />He added that the group would continue to focus on attracting trade and new listings on the basis of its &ldquo;unique market position and broader international focus&rdquo;.<br /><br />Plus said it is committed to pursuing new opportunities in China, South East Asia and India, in addition to the investment by Amara Dhari, which aims to develop the exchange&rsquo;s capabilities in the Middle East.