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Strong year for turnover on Republic of Ireland stock exchange ISEQ

By Charlie Weston

The Irish stock exchange reported a strong performance last year. The volume of shares traded rose, with more bonds listed, and a number of flotations.

This offset a decline in the benchmark index, which finished last year lower than it did in 2015.

The value of the ISEQ index declined by 4% in 2016 and finished up at 6,517.

This was the first fall in the benchmark index since the Republic of Ireland was bailed out by the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank in 2010.

But the fall off in the index was in contrast to listings activity and turnover on the stock exchange.

There were new equity listings from Venn Life Sciences, Draper Esprit and Dalata Hotel Group, which operates three hotels in Northern Ireland.

The value of the turnover of equities rose to hit €89bn last year (£77bn) and the number of trades executed increased by 17.4% to 6.6 million.

Last year was marked by investor concern that caused volatility, with fears generated by Brexit, questions over the health of the Chinese economy, and the election of Donald Trump as the next US President.

Despite this, the exchange saw a 7% rise in the number of bond listings to 29,000.

This copper-fastened its position as the world's second main venue for the listing of bonds, after Luxembourg.

Among the high-profile listings were the first ever sovereign bonds from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, valued at $17.5bn (£14bn). The kingdom turned to the capital markets for the first time to sell debt to shore up its finances as oil prices plunged.

There were also 1,000 new fund listings last year, helping the exchange to retain its number position for funds listing globally. And €513m (£443m) was raised by 11 companies on the exchange.

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