Belfast Telegraph

Half yearly revenue soars 44% for First Derivatives

By Margaret Canning

Northern Ireland's biggest listed company First Derivatives has set its sights on further growth after announcing a 44% increase in revenue to £54m over the six months to the end of August.

The Newry-based firm started out providing software and consultancy services to capital markets but is now also making cloud products for use in other sectors.

Employment is now 1,500, which was up 50% from a year earlier. Its £54m revenue was 5% ahead of forecasts, with stockbroker Goodbody observing that revenue growth for its consulting arm had been "exceptional".

Software revenue leaped by nearly 90% to £18.3m, while consulting revenue was £33.5m, which was up 28% year on year.

The results come after First Derivatives announced a contract win with the National Stock Exchange of India for its trading services.

The company was founded by Brian Conlon in 1996 and remains based in his home town of Newry.

Finance director Graham Ferguson said the results demonstrated "a continuation of the strategy we've been achieving over the last number of years".

"It's a good, strong set of results and we have ambition to do an awful lot better. We are continuing to build for the future after making a number of investments to make the group stronger and put it in an even better position to grow."

The company is also building expertise in a digital marketing cloud product, which is now used by major technology companies - and was also pursuing opportunities to sell the software into utilities, telecoms and pharmaceuticals.

Mr Ferguson said the Delta product built up by the firm over the last five years was "agnostic, so it doesn't matter what type of data it is".

"Our expertise has been in capital markets but we have also been keen that products can be adapted into other markets and other verticals."

In February First Derivatives bought software company Prelytix LLC for an initial fee of £4.9m.

In March FD made two more acquisitions, Ontario-based software development consultancy Affinity Systems Ltd for an initial £3.8m, and Dublin-based software business ActivateClients Ltd for an initial £3.3m. And in September, the company announced it was setting up FD Labs, a research and development facility in Ottawa, Canada.

Mr Ferguson said he could give no indications of any future announcements or acquisitions on home turf but added: "We are committed to the island, to our head office (in Newry) and our offices in Belfast and Dublin." And with software revenue now accounting for over one-third of sales, he said the firm wanted to reach the point where it was a "hybrid" business.

Brian Conlon was named Business Personality of the Year in the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards this year.

Belfast Telegraph