First Derivatives plc is headquartered in Newry. It has 12 wholly owned subsidiaries in five countries, including Northern Ireland/UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia and five in the USA.
In addition, the company has a 22% shareholding in an associate company Kx Systems. The company is one of a small number of local businesses whose shares are successfully quoted on the Alternative Investment Market.
The company has been trading for 17 years. In the last five years it has expanded dramatically. Turnover has trebled to reach an annual figure of £56m which is earned through sales of software and the provision of consultancy services. Principal activities provide a range of software and consulting services to the investment bank market, the derivatives technology industry, the foreign exchange market and technology sales services to the IT sector.
The annual report is an impressive review of an advanced financial services business gaining contracts in many major financial centres. The chairman describes their software, and related physical infrastructure, as giving the ability to meet the needs of clients by operating in the 'cloud' or on software as a service model.
One successful contract has developed by launching a centre of excellence for a major investment bank which has operated out of the head office of First Derivatives in support of the client. The company sets out various developments around its in-house Delta brand which offers a range of mature and developing products.
In the two most recent financial years, the company spent nearly £15m on further acquisitions some specifically to bring added technology into the group.
The consolidated balance sheet confirms these distinctions. At the end of the most recent trading year, tangible assets were valued at £9m whilst intangible assets were estimated at over £37m.
The annual accounts show that, on average, 723 people were employed in the last financial year. The report says that the headcount has risen and is now 750.
Last year, over £1.8m was paid as dividends to the shareholders.