Commentary

Jos Schmidt
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Reducing the Regulatory Burden on Public Companies, Yes Please But...

In this commentary, NEO's Jos Schmidt discusses regulatory requirements and needs in the Canadian equity markets.

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August 31, 2004

Instinet Makes a Profit, But Reuters May Sell It

By Staff Reports

Instinet Group, which reported a small profit in the second quarter compared to red ink in the same period last year, probably should be doing better and may be put on the block, according to the primary owners.

Reuters, Instinet's parent, said it is considering selling its $1 billion stake in the trading and information giant. That's after Instinet reported second quarter net income of $8 million, or three cents a share, on total consolidated quarterly revenue of $280 million. Despite the small profit numbers, Instinet officials said the performance was good in the tough trading environment.

"We had a good quarter considering the weaker U.S. and European equity markets," according to Edward Nicoll, chief executive of the Instinet Group. He said Instinet "continues to be profitable while we serve our clients in the lowest cost and most efficient way."

Nevertheless, that may not be good enough. Reuters officials, who argue that the stock is undervalued, said they might be prepared to sell their 62 percent stake in the firm. They also said that it is not obvious that there is a role for Instinet as an "independent provider of liquidity." Reuters has been in the process of selling off several of its business. It is attempting to consolidate around its core information services.