Belfast Telegraph

First Derivatives set for top sales after record number of new deals

By John Mulgrew

Northern Ireland's biggest listed company First Derivatives says landing new customers have put it on track to exceed previous full-year forecasts.

The Newry-based plc, which develops financial software, says it expects to be "comfortably ahead of current consensus forecasts".

It's forecasting £110m of turnover and pre-tax profits of more than £22m after landing new customers.

It says sales have increased in the second half of the financial year, driven by a boost in sales among existing customers, and a "number" of new customers.

Brian Conlon, chief executive, said the business has "made strong progress over the course of the past year and are well placed to continue to do so".

"In consulting our increasing scale and breadth of expertise is enabling us to get involved earlier in the change lifecycle within our clients, leading to deeper and more strategic relationships," he added.

"In software, our market-leading capability in analysing large volumes of data in real time is increasingly understood and as a result we have experienced an acceleration of contract wins during the past year.

"We look forward to updating shareholders further when we announce our full year results."

First Derivatives has said it is continuing to see "strong demand" in its "traditional financial services market across our range of software products".

And it said it's signed a "record number of contracts" during the second half of the financial year.

Speaking about its consulting revenue, the business said it grew strongly in the second half of the year, driven by big business among existing companies, as well as attracting in new customers.

"This included a number of projects where First Derivatives is to act as a strategic partner to assist major investment banks with change programmes.

"This is in line with our business model under which we seek to grow these initial wins into multi-year assignments."

Brian Conlon set up the company in 1996 in a spare bedroom in his mother's house in Newry.

It's grown into the largest listed company in Northern Ireland. In 2014, it created 484 new jobs at its Newry base, after it received £3.9m from Invest NI, bringing the global total of its workforce to almost 1,500.

In January this year, the firm revealed it paid £2.2m for English consultancy firm QuantumKDB.

The firm was founded in 2011 by chief executive Kieran Lucid and provides consulting in the UK, US and Hong Kong.

In its latest trading update, First Derivatives also said that the full impact of "recurring" software licenses would not be felt fully until its results ending in February 2017.

Belfast Telegraph