Tuesday 20 March 2018

With oil firm swooping in, ISE can shake off 'troubled' image

GOOD news at last for the Irish Stock Exchange (ISE). Falcon Oil & Gas debuted on the Dublin market.

The listing couldn't have come at a better time for ISE chief executive Deirdre Somers and her team.

It has been hard in recent months to find any reference to the Irish exchange that did not include words like "troubled" or "embattled".

The Dublin market has been blighted by numerous firms switching their primary listing to London, dropping their Dublin listing altogether, or going out of business.

In terms of value and of the number of names traded, the market has shrunk dramatically since the bust.

Ms Somers has been on the road trumpeting the advantages of Dublin to executives looking to float their companies, but her words seemed to fall on deaf ears. Up until now, that is.

Falcon is the first company to list here since another energy firm, Fastnet Oil & Gas, went public last summer.

The stock exchange was quick to praise Falcon for choosing Dublin. Now it could do with some more of the same. There may be at least one more big listing this year, with Greencore expected to open a secondary market in Dublin, but the ISE needs more.

Big Irish companies such as the technology firm Opennet and the packaging giant Ardagh Group are poised to float in the US, depriving the ISE of a big boost. Still, Falcon's arrival is a start.

The benchmark ISEQ Overall Index is up a fifth in the past year. Major firms such as Kerry Group and Glanbia have made clear they won't be defecting from Dublin.

There is a role for the ISE. It just needs more days like this. Peter Flanagan

Irish Independent

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