Friday 14 December 2018

Irish Stock Exchange enlists US advisers in bid to seek a buyer

Bourse may appeal to London Stock Exchange after Brexit vote

The Irish Stock Exchange. Stock image
The Irish Stock Exchange. Stock image

Gavin McLoughlin Business Correspondent

The Irish Stock Exchange (ISE) has enlisted US investment bank Moelis & Co to help it find a buyer, and has distributed documentation to interested parties in recent weeks.

Another stock market is seen as a likely buyer, and industry sources said the exchange may be attractive for the London Stock Exchange, as it would enable it to keep a foothold in the European Union after Brexit takes effect.

It may also appeal to a European bourse looking to establish itself adjacent to the British market in order to try to attract more business.

The ISE is owned by a number of stockbroking firms. Davy, Goodbody, Investec, Cantor Fitzgerald and Campbell O'Connor have stakes in the business, which had operating profits of €9.2m last year.

The appointment of Moelis emerged in a report by specialist publication Buyouts magazine, which said the ISE is up for sale and that deal books went out last month. The ISE did not confirm or deny the move when contacted by the Sunday Independent.

"Since the Brexit referendum we have been evaluating potential strategies to ensure that the ISE is well placed to take full advantage of Brexit- related business opportunities. This work is ongoing," an ISE spokesman said.

Speaking at an event last week, ISE chief executive Deirdre Somers said the UK has been utterly dominant in the EU's securities market infrastructure, and this was not something that could be "easily unbundled".

"The EU that Ireland is now entering is completely different from the one we were in. With the UK, Ireland was well positioned with a great working alliance and a well-resourced, articulate fiscal leader that reflected our outlook. Replacing that will be extremely difficult for us and we will not be in as powerful a position as we were with the complement that relationship afforded us," she said in an address to the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

"The EU must ensure that it is a strong financial union post Brexit that funds the pillars of its economy from within, and it is difficult to see how this can be achieved while remaining dependent on the UK."

In the aftermath of the Brexit referendum the ISE launched a marketing offensive in the UK to encourage British companies to establish listings in Dublin.

It has also been promoting its Atlantic Securities Market, set up to facilitate dual US/European listings for companies.

Sunday Indo Business

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