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Kerley's faith in company has finally borne fruit

PAUL Kerley admits to sometimes being frustrated that Norkom's solid results have not always been reflected in the share price.

The past couple of years did little to endear the stock to investors as Norkom's potential client base of financial institutions dealt with one of the deadliest onslaughts ever against the industry.

The company witnessed potential clients deferring decisions on whether to buy its software systems as they reappraised their own spending and waited to see what type of regulatory environment was emerging from the financial crisis.

But for Mr Kerley, his faith in the once-troubled company he founded has paid off. So has the investment decision of TVC, which now has a bulging cash balance to pursue what could be transformational deals for the firm.

Mr Kerley has had to roll with many punches during his time at Norkom. The company started life providing customer-relationship management software and was poised for a stock-market flotation in late 2000 just as the dotcom bubble burst.

The flotation was pulled and with the company on its death bed, as Mr Kerley put it, it slashed 100 jobs and branched out into the financial-fraud prevention software sector. After a tough couple of years, the bet paid off.

Although Norkom's revenues have been under considerable pressure over the past couple of years as clients delayed making purchases amid the ongoing financial crisis, last year it posted revenue of €49m and a pre-tax profit of almost €7.5m.

Last September, however, it warned that revenues and profits in the first six months of 2011 would be significantly lower than in the first half of last year.

Mr Kerley slated Tanaiste Mary Coughlan on television last year, after being asked if she was suitable in her then role as minister for enterprise, trade and employment.

"She is not fit for it," Mr Kerley told the RTE 'Frontline' audience.

"Worse still is that when we go out and into the international world, she actually... to her colleagues, to her staff and to the business people around her, there's a cringe factor around it.

"There is an embarrassment level around it and how we are being represented."

Irish Independent