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SIGN OUTSIDE COMPUTERSHARE HEADQUARTERS.
computershare SIGN OUTSIDE COMPUTERSHARE HEADQUARTERS.

Computershare is on track to lift profit this financial year and is preparing to snap up competitors owned by private equity players that are looking to sell.

The Melbourne-based share registry operator on Wednesday told shareholders it is confident its 2009/10 profit would exceed that of 2008/09.

Chief executive Stuart Crosby said profitability was tracking "slightly ahead of 2009" in the financial year to date.

The company had booked a 9.3 per cent drop in annual profit to $US255.7 million ($A308.47 million) in the year to June 30.

"We are increasingly confident of exceeding last year's performance, assuming equity, interest rate and FX (foreign exchange) market conditions remain broadly consistent with current levels for the rest of the financial year," Mr Crosy told Computershare's annual general meeting.

Computershare's 2008/09 operating revenue, earnings and cash flows were all down on the previous year as falls in equity market trading volumes hit revenue, along with lower levels of initial public offers and weaker merger and acquisition activity.

The company made four acquisitions, thanks to its low level of debt and sees more in this area in the next two years, as well as continued organic growth in its India, Russia and China operations.

"Private equity owners of competitors seem to be looking to cash out over the next 12 to 24 months," Mr Crosby said.

He also said Computershare's competitors had had to make deep cuts to their IT budgets over the past year.

Computershare's IT expenditure remained at around 10 per cent of revenue.

Over the past 18 months Computershare had acquired the Kurtzman Carson Consultants LLC bankruptcy administration business, HBOS Employee Equity Solutions, National City and Scandinavian registry I-nvestor.

In contrast to 2008/09, India, Russia and China now represent strong growth potential, Mr Crosby said.

"We continue to monitor a range of M&A (merger and acquisition) and other investment targets and opportunities - small, medium and large."

Computershare's operations in the three markets are more dependent on mergers and acquisitions and initial public offers, which tapered off in 2008/09 preventing the business units from repeating their strong 2007/08 performances.