First Derivatives sees profit jump 38%

Newry company recorded a series of contract wins during the year


Pretax profit at Newry-headquartered technology company First Derivatives increased 38 per cent to £16.7 million on the back of strong revenue growth helped by an expansion in the company's services.

Additionally, contract wins including the Canadian Securities Administrators, Bitcoin exchange BitMEX and a major Japanese Bank helped revenues grow 17 grew to £80.2 million, up 17 per cent. Revenue from its marketing technology increased 8 per cent to £41.4 million. per cent to £217.4 million, although the pace of growth was down slightly on last year.

The company’s primary platform - Kx Technology - analysis vast quantities of data enabling rapid development of new applications. The company said the platform “continued to gain traction across the industries we are targeting”. First Derivatives said it increased its artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities to further enhance the platform.

Chief finance officer Graham Ferguson told The Irish Times the company’s strategy is to significantly grow its capital markets division, build its position in financial services software and continue to break through into new industries.


The technology group services the top 20 global investment bank and numerous regulators and exchanges with their fintech software for which revenue


The company also made inroads in moving to establish Kx in other markets. It was appointed innovation partner to Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, was selected to deliver an electricity information exchange for Finnish operator Fingrid and signed an agreement with a South Korean provider of smart manufacturing solutions.

Mr Ferguson noted that its geographical spread somewhat insulates the company against Brexit.

"We have delivered another year of strong growth while investing to scale our business and secure growth in new markets," said chairman Seamus Keating, who has taken on a more significant role at the company since founder and chief executive Brian Conlon was diagnosed with cancer. Mr Conlon will remain as chief executive during his treatment which includes chemotherapy. Mr Ferguson noted that Mr Conlon "has not taken a step back" and "remains the driving force behind the company".

First Derivatives now employs more than 2,400 people.

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business