Graduates from last year’s class of the pre-IPO programme, called IPOready, Euronext Dublin has been running since 2015 regaled those tuning into a virtual event on Wednesday with how they can now pull together an investor presentation with the best of them.
For Brody Sweeney, founder of home delivery franchise Camile Thai Kitchen and self-confessed “marketeer at heart” rather than a numbers man, working on developing a “pretty sophisticated” slide deck and networking with financiers and advisers was the highlight.
Dervilla Mullan, chief product officer with NewsWhip, a media intelligence company that predicts and tracks stories likely to go viral, said it “elevated” the business’s focus on strategy and is making sure its data room is always in order for prospective investors.
“We’re actively looking for funding now so we can accelerate,” she said.
But with 35 companies having come through three IPOready programmes since early 2015, not one, to date, has actually gone on to launch an IPO.
The closest was Finance Ireland, the non-bank lender that was part of the second programme. It was forced to abandon plans for a €100 million-plus IPO in May 2020 as the onset of Covid-19 threw markets into turmoil. The hope is that it will revisit the plan as soon as late 2022.
While there has been a flurry of IPOs globally in the past year as equity markets soared following an initial Covid slump, Irish-listed companies, apart from about six home-grown multinationals, such as CRH, Ryanair and Smurfit Kappa, are a largely illiquid lot and off the radar of big international investors. Uniphar, the pharmaceuticals wholesaler and healthcare services group, was the last Dublin IPO – in July 2019.
Market exits have been more of a concern of late, with CPL Resources and Applegreen being taken private this year and Total Produce dumping its Irish listing in July for the bright lights of Wall Street as part of its merger with Dole Foods .
Jim Joyce, CEO and co-founder of Irish digital therapeutics company HealthBeacon, sounded more enthusiastic. "We're at the stage where we're taking it very seriously," he said. "We're definitely going to explore that as a route to capital."
Enough to give bosses at Euronext Dublin some hope as they search for 10 “ambitious, growing” candidates for its fourth programme, set to start in January?