Business World

Friday 22 August 2014

€1.1bn Icon delists from Dublin to join Nasdaq

Firm comprises 2.3pc of ISEQ

John Mulligan

Published 02/11/2012 | 05:00

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IRISH clinical trials firm Icon is the latest company to ditch its listing on the Irish Stock Exchange (ISE).

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Icon said yesterday it would terminate the listing in Dublin in order to become a fully-fledged member of New York's Nasdaq.

It said it had previously indicated it was considering the future of its share listings due to its international operations and profile.

"Icon now plans, subject to finalising the necessary details and arrangements, to proceed with a full listing of shares on Nasdaq and terminate the current Nasdaq ADR programme," it said.

"It is the company's view that this change will provide benefits to shareholders, including removing some barriers to ownerships and also the potential for further index inclusion for the stock."

Icon, whose services include providing clinical trials services for drug companies, listed on the stock exchange in Dublin in 1999. At yesterday's close it had a market capitalisation of €1.1bn and comprised 2.3pc of the ISEQ.

The company follows others including United Drug and Greencore, which have delisted from the ISE and shifted their listings to London. CRH moved its primary listing to London.

United Drug said it was delisting from the ISEQ because the UK market is increasingly important for it and it wanted to boost exposure to additional investors. It generated 41pc of its €77m operating profit in the UK last year and 26pc of its €1.72bn revenue.

The company has been listed on the ISEQ for more than 25 years. Its listing will formally end next month.

CEO Liam FitzGerald said in September: "We believe the changes will increase the group's attractiveness to a wider international investor base and are a natural progression for United Drug."

Greencore delisted last January after it completed the acquisition of British firm Uniq. The bulk of Greencore's business is now in the UK.

It is a top-five supplier to Marks & Spencer, providing about 65pc of the sandwiches it sells in Britain.

Pressure

Irish Stock Exchange chief executive Deirdre Somers conceded that while the ISE is under pressure, delistings are not an issue unique to Ireland.

She also said that the ISE's share of CRH share trading has risen since the company moved its primary listing to London, for example.

Icon also said yesterday that its third quarter net revenue had climbed 19pc to $286m (€221m), while income from operations had risen 7.3pc to $20.9m.

Chief executive Ciaran Murray said: "We have recorded $1.5bn of gross bookings in the first three quarters of the year, produced 16pc growth in revenue and our margin recovery continues to go to plan."

Irish Independent

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