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Irish Stock Exchange chief hails First Derivatives of Newry as 'exceptional firm'

By John Mulgrew

The success of one of our top software firms - First Derivatives - is a "clear example of the kind of dynamism that Northern Ireland can deliver", the chief executive of the Irish Stock Exchange (ISE) has said.

Deirdre Somers told the Belfast Telegraph: "What's happening in Ireland and overall in Europe is a reflection of what's happening in the Western world, is that we are struggling to get a good value and pipeline of IPOs (initial public offerings).

"There are a myriad of different reasons for that... therefore how do you change that?

"Our pipeline is as good as it can be. I think we are delivering a relative access point and funding option for companies of a particular type."

Northern Ireland has only two listed firms - Newry-based First Derivatives and Belfast technology firm Kainos.

Ms Somers said: "We have a Northern Irish company listed on the stock exchange, First Derivatives. It's a perfect example of the kind of dynamism that Northern Ireland can deliver. This is an extraordinary company doing exceptional things in an area of the country that you wouldn't normally associate with doing that.

"It has managed to create a cluster of quantitative mathematics, and all those capabilities... that's a fantastic story.

"Through their trajectory on the exchange, they started at one place and they are now a completely different company."

Speaking about the advantage to companies considering listing their businesses, she said: "I always say to companies that the IPO is the wedding day, and now you are married and you reap the benefits of that, you can keep coming back to the market for funding. So any company that comes onto the market now has an access to further funding.

"It brings a discipline of management and of transparency.

"What I would say to any company is, first of all, to understand that the benefits are not once off.

"The second is, markets will allow you to notch funding to the ambition and strategy of the business. The key difference is communication.

"You have to be able to communicate in a way people can understand."

Ms Somers was speaking after Applegreen, which is listed on the ISE, walked away with a top European business award.

The service station chain, which is aiming to have seven sites in Northern Ireland, was named Rising Star of 2016 at the European Small and Mid-Cap Awards in Brussels.

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