Saturday 24 February 2018

Davy makes €9m profits despite tough conditions

Company in a 'strong financial position' with its regulatory capital over three times that required

Peter Flanagan

DAVY stockbrokers, one of the most venerable brokers in the country, made a profit of more than €9m last year despite the ongoing problems in the securities business.

Davy is a partnership and so is not required to file statutory accounts, but documents seen by the Irish Independent showed the company's accumulated profits swelled to €124.9m last year, compared to €115.7m in 2009.

In its accounts, the company said it was in a "strong financial position" at year end with its regulatory capital "in excess of three times the statutory requirement".

"Current trading performance remains satisfactory," the broker added.

Davy's profits come at a time when the stockbroking industry has been hit very hard by the economic downturn here and the global financial crisis in general.

The ISEQ Index is off nearly 9pc this year and a number of companies have delisted or signalled they will delist from the index. Trading volumes on the exchange are about a quarter of the 2007 peak, when some €200bn of equities were dealt.

Just two companies, Ryanair and CRH, account for the bulk of the day-to-day share dealing on the exchange since the collapse of Irish banking stocks.

That has prompted speculation that there could be consolidation in the stockbroking sector, with Goodbody stockbrokers already being sold by AIB to the Kerry-based Fexco.

In response to the crash, Davy restructured its business and increased its focus on securing more and more business outside of the Irish market. It also retained its bond desk, which has been a boon given the risk-averse nature of the market.

Its private clients have been amongst those who had sustained the heaviest losses though. They participated in the firm's highly leveraged syndicated property deals, the most high profile being the glass bottle site in Ringsend associated with property developer Bernard McNamara, purchased for €412m but now worth about €60m.


Meanwhile, City broker Evolution Securities said it received an approach about a possible takeover, sending the firm's shares up as much as 13pc.

"This approach is at a very early stage, and the board is far from certain that it will ultimately result in an offer being made," Evolution said in a statement, without naming the suitor. A spokeswoman declined to comment beyond the statement.

Brokers in the UK, like in Ireland, have sought to consolidate after the credit crisis cut financing for takeovers, hurting revenue from advising on fundraisings and mergers. Panmure Gordon, a rival broker, spurned overtures from Evolution last year.

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