HKEX annual net profit rises 26 percent, meeting estimates

HONG KONG, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Hong Kong's stock exchange operator said on Wednesday its 2018 net profit surged 26 percent to a record high, just shy of market expectations, boosted by fees from a number of mega IPOs in the first part of the year as well as strong trading and clearing fees.

Profit reached HK$9.31 billion ($1.19 billion) from HK$7.4 billion a year prior, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd (HKEX) said.

That compared with the HK$9.36 billion average of 16 analyst estimates compiled by Refinitiv, and beat the previous record of HK$7.96 billion set in 2015.

Hong Kong topped global financial centres for IPO volume in 2018, as companies including smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp and telecommunications firm China Tower Corp Ltd raised $36.3 billion, Refinitiv data showed.

($1 = 7.8491 Hong Kong dollars)

(Reporting by Alun John; Editing by Christopher Cushing)