Tuesday 24 April 2018

Another nail in coffin of Irish stock exchange as DCC considers a listing switch to London

Thomas Molloy

Thomas Molloy

IN another blow to the Irish stock exchange, energy conglomerate DCC confirmed that it is seriously considering moving its listing to London and cancelling the Dublin listing.

Such a move would be another nail in the exchange's coffin. Companies from Icon to Greencore have recently left the Dublin exchange while other heavyweights such as CRH have moved primary listings to London. Ryanair would be almost the only major company left with a primary listing in Dublin.

DCC said in a statement yesterday that most of its development activity and expenditure over the past two decades took place outside Ireland. Three- quarters of the shares are also held by foreign investors.

"The company will remain incorporated, headquartered and tax resident in Ireland,'' DCC added.

In the statement, the company said sales and operating profits in the three months to the end of December were "well ahead'' of the previous year.

Davy Stockbrokers said DCC's comments show the company has put in a good performance and upgraded its forecasts for the company.

Goodbody Stockbrokers said it also expects to raise profit forecasts by 2-3pc and urged investors to buy the shares which Goodbody says are trading at an unjustified discount to peers.

The shares rose almost 5pc to €25.95 or the most in more 14 months following the statement. That gave the company a market value of €2.17bn.

The rise in sales and operating profit were "driven primarily by the performance of DCC Energy, which benefited from colder weather conditions," in northern Europe, compared to last year, DCC said.

Based on normal winter weather conditions in the fourth quarter, the company forecast operating profit on a constant currency basis to be around 17.5pc ahead of last year.

DCC's potential departure from the Dublin exchange comes just moths after clinical trials company Icon moved its listing to the Nasdaq.

In the past two years Greencore and United Drug have upped sticks and moved completely to other markets, while CRH has shifted its primary listing to London. Strong Irish companies like Ardagh group and Openet are bypassing Dublin to list in the US.

The man who has created more Irish listed companies than anybody else, John Teeling, has never listed in Dublin.

In every case, there have been company-specific reasons for them moving, but the trend remains clear.

The exchange's chief executive, Deirdre Somers, has highlighted the fact that de-listings are not unique to the Irish market – the number of listed companies in the US is down 44pc in the past decade, while London's AIM has lost 35pc of its firms since 2007, but those markets are much bigger.

Irish Independent

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