Belfast Telegraph

North West investment announced in New York

By Margaret Canning

The annual St Patrick's Day Irish-American jamboree has begun with the announcement of a "significant" investment in a Co Londonderry software company.

Lough Shore Investments chief executive Danny Moore announced he would be making a "significant" investment in Coleraine-based Geopii during Ireland Day at the New York Stock Exchange. Geopii started life as University of Ulster spin-out company Causeway Data Communications.

In its new incarnation of Geopii, the company is focusing on selling its property valuation software Spatialest, used by Land and Property Services to calculate rates in Northern Ireland.

Mr Moore, a former chief executive of Wombat - which was sold to the NYSE Euronext - was among the main speakers at yesterday's event, held to restore Ireland's global business reputation. The Co Antrim man said: "Geopii is one of the most innovative software firms in Northern Ireland and The New York Stock Exchange is home to some of the biggest corporates in the world, so it's the ideal location to showcase Northern Irish talent.

"The key focus of this summit is to rebuild the island of Ireland's reputation abroad and assist Irish businesses in leveraging US markets.

"It's about communicating to the 350 Fortune 500 executives here today that Northern Irish firms can compete at a global level and are open for business.

"It's the very reason we established Lough Shore Investments."

He praised Geopii for its "next generation" technology. "In a time when the 'credit crunch' has highlighted huge problems in the way loan books are valued, Geopii offers a truly unique platform for evaluation and risk management of property portfolios.

"We expect you'll be hearing a lot more from Geopii in the months and years ahead."

Geopii managing director Ashley Moore said it was fitting to announce the investment "in what is arguably the epicentre of global financial services".

"Simply put, Geopii's offering will help banks to start lending again with confidence, reversing current lending trends. We believe that the US financial markets are ready for Geopii," Mr Moore said.

Mr Moore set up Lough Shore Investments last year with a stated aim of bringing 10 companies to an initial public offering (IPO) by 2025. Last month he announced a "significant" investment in energy company Simple Power.

Yesterday's event was hosted by NYSE Euronext, which is set to grow its Belfast presence through technology arm NYSE Technology, and the Irish American Business Association.

Meanwhile, Executive sources have scotched rumours that a cut in corporation tax for Northern Ireland would be announced from Washington on St Patrick's Day.

Instead, US Economic Envoy Declan Kelly is expected to reiterate the US Administration's support of Northern Ireland's economic development - although a cut in corporation tax is expected later this year.

First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness are travelling to Washington today to play their part in festivities.

Speech-makers at an event in the White House on March 16 will include Newry-based First Derivative chief executive Brian Conlon.

New Taoiseach Enda Kenny will make his first official visit to the White House on Thursday.