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Wednesday, 18 April, 2001, 14:09 GMT 15:09 UK
OM losses shock analysts
OM
OM's share price has fallen 72% since last autumn
Market analysts were caught unawares when OM, the group that owns Sweden's stock exchange, revealed that its profits had slipped to just 25m kronor (£1.7m, $2.4m) for the first quarter, sharply below analysts' expectations of 55m kronor.

Jiway's tough year
January:
1,996 trades
February:
474 trades
March:
577 trades

Losses during the first quarter:
99m kronor
(£6.8m, $9.7m)
The already bruised company tried to calm traders by insisting that a 99m kronor loss suffered by its online stock market Jiway was a marked improvement on the previous quarter's 120m loss.

And it pointed out that group sales rose during the quarter, from 695m kronor to 785m kronor.

But there is no doubt that OM's management knows it is in difficulty.

Jiway's troubles

Jiway, OM's online stock exchange which is 40% owned by Morgan Stanley, was launched in November last year to serve internet brokers whose clients were small investors.

Whether or not Jiway is the revolutionary product with superior technology which was promised, the timing of its launch has proved unfortunate.

Share trading volumes among private investors has fallen sharply across the world in the wake of the increased volatility in the stock markets.

This means that only about 4,000 trades have been done on Jiway since the start of the year.

Sweden's online share trading market is perhaps the most crowded in Europe, though less so now than it was a year ago.

A string of mergers have slashed the number of online trading facilities, and the consolidation is expected to continue.

Diving share price

Selling of OM shares instantly shaved 8% off their value following the profit announcement on Wednesday.

OM's new image
Earlier this month, OM changed its name from OM Gruppen and rebranded OM Stockholm Stock Exchange as 'Stockholmsbörsen'.

"The name Stockholmsbörsen will also be used internationally to reinforce its positive and national characteristics as well as to arouse interest and make the brand name unique," OM said in a statement.
It then rebounded to stabilise about 2% below its opening level, but still sharply lower than its recent highs.

OM's share price has fallen 72% since last autumn when it first made a bid to buy the London Stock Exchange.

At the time, it was trading at around 500 kronor per share. On Wednesday morning, it dipped as low as 142 kronor, a level not seen since December 1999.

See also:

21 Dec 00 | Business
Fraud squad targets Swedish state
30 Nov 00 | Business
New bourse to rival OM Gruppen
27 Nov 00 | Business
OM chief resigns
10 Nov 00 | Business
LSE bid reaches end of the road
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