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LSE confident Refinitiv will deliver

The London Stock Exchange is confident its integration of Refinitiv will pay off despite recent challenges, its chief executive said on Friday.

And the relationship with Reuters, with which it is discussing a $325 million a year contract for news that came with the LSE's $27 billion acquisition of Refinitiv, is good.


“We’re in a strong financial position,” David Schwimmer told an online investor event. “We remain confident in achieving financial targets that we set out when we announced the transaction.”


So far “run rate” savings of 40 million pounds have been made as integration progresses, and debt has been cut by four billion pounds, he said.


LSE shares tumbled in March from around 9,300 pence to just over 8,000 pence as details emerged of costs for upgrading the Refinitiv platform. The stock was trading at 7,888 pence on Friday, having pared gains slightly since the investor event began.


Refinitiv’s flagship Eikon terminals have been hit by several outages, which Schwimmer said were not due to the underlying product.


“These kinds of issues, outages, are absolutely unacceptable to our customers, unacceptable to us. We know how to address them, and we are very much doing that,” Schwimmer said.


The LSE was continuing an investment programme in Refinitiv and its data and analytics terminals begun by its previous owner, US private equity firm Blackstone, Schwimmer said.


The exchange said in April it was on track to achieve 25 per cent of an announced 350 million pound savings target by the end of 2021, with guidance on 850 million pounds in capital expenditure and 150 million pounds in operational costs for 2021 also unchanged.


“This business has momentum,” said Andrea Remyn Stone, a former Bloomberg executive who became LSE’s Group head of data & analytics on Thursday, replacing David Craig, former Refinitiv CEO.


Schwimmer said the LSE was still in discussions with Reuters News over the agreement to distribute news content, following a dispute earlier this year over whether Reuters could put up a paywall on its website.


Refinitiv’s $325 million a year for Reuters news pre-dates its take-over by the exchange.


“We have a good ongoing relationship and good ongoing discussion with Reuters,” Schwimmer said, declining to comment further.


Stone said news is “essential” to its business proposition and it views the relationship with Reuters as “core”. She added that LSE Group uses Reuters in every product it has.


A spokesperson for Reuters News had no immediate comment on the talks. Its owner Thomson Reuters holds a minority stake in the LSE following the Refinitiv deal. ■