During an earnings call held by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) regarding their 4th quarterly report of 2018, Jeff Sprecher, the company’s CEO said that their digital asset platform will be launched later this year.
4Q18 #ICEearnings Highlights:
Fourth quarter revenues of $1.3 billion, ⬆️ 14% y/yGAAP diluted EPS of $1.07Adj. diluted EPS of $0.94, ⬆️ 25% y/yOperating margin of 52%; Adj. operating margin of 58%Nearly $1.8 billion returned to stockholders in 2018, ⬆️ 23% y/y
— ICE (@ICE_Markets) February 7, 2019
They reported a strong earning of over $1.3 billion which was up 14% year over year. Data and listings revenues in the fourth quarter were $651 million and trading and clearing net revenues were $657 million, up 4% and 27% year-over-year, respectively. Consolidated operating expenses were $632 million for the fourth quarter of 2018.
At the same conference call, Scott Hill, the company’s Chief Financial Officer said that this will go towards supporting key strategic initiatives, including fixed income, mortgages, and the launch of Bakkt.
“Our investment in Bakkt will generate $20 million to $25 million of expense based upon the run rate in the first quarter. We will update you on progress at Bakkt and the level of investment as we move through the year. We delivered another record year in 2018, and we have momentum entering 2019.”
According to Sprecher, Bakkt represents a unique structure for ICE with a separate name, company, management team, and capitalization.
“That infrastructure has attracted a lot of very, very interesting companies that have come, some that have invested in Bakkt, some are just working with Bakkt, to try to tap into that infrastructure for some new use cases that will involve blockchain and digital assets and other things that we can provide these people. Obviously, we’ve announced the – our work with Starbucks and Microsoft.”
He went ahead to accept that Bakkt was their “moonshot bet.” A ‘moonshot’ is commonly understood to mean the 1961-1972 Apollo program, the phrase ‘a moonshot bet’ is frequently used to mean any complicated, risky maneuver with high minded ideals behind it.
“So it’s a bit of a moonshot bet and it’s been organized in a manner that is very different than the way ICE typically does businesses […] They’re well along in building out an infrastructure that I think you’ll see launch later this year.”
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