Hong Kong bourse operator 2019 profit rises

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HONG KONG, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd (HKEX) posted a higher annual profit on Wednesday, as the stock exchange operator managed to shrug off the impact from the political turmoil faced by the Asian financial hub in the second half.

HKEX's full-year net profit came in at HK$9.39 billion ($1.21 billion), up from HK$9.31 billion a year earlier, but missed an average estimate of HK$9.49 billion of analysts polled by Refinitiv.

While trading was hit by political protests, the bourse had a marked good year for capital raisings, most notably, Budwieser Asia's $5.75 billion IPO, and Alibaba's $12.9 billion listing.

Hong Kong ranked third globally for IPOs last year, after the Nasdaq and the Saudi Exchange, raising $25 billion, excluding Alibaba's listing. ($1=7.7917 Hong Kong dollars) (Reporting by Alun John; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)