The Road to IPO

Author

Susan Nightingale
Oct 16, 2019

In March of this year Diaceutics became the fourth company from Northern Ireland to float on the London Stock Exchange, a listing that has seen the number of Northern Ireland publicly listed companies double in just two years.

To encourage and inspire other highly ambitious NI companies to consider an Initial Public Offering (IPO) or stock market launch as part of their growth strategy we hosted ‘The Road to IPO’ event in the Europa Hotel last week, and what a fantastic morning it was.

Peter Keeling, Brendan Mooney and Paul Kerr, CEOs of Diaceutics plc, Kainos plc and Fusion Antibodies plc respectively, shared their individual stories and the key motivations and challenges involved in delivering a successful IPO. 

Peter Keeling of Diaceutics reminded those in the room that the primary focus should be on running their businesses and not to get too caught up or distracted by the IPO and life on the public markets. Brendan Mooney of Kainos talked about life on the Main Market, the value of completing the Leadership-4-Growth-Programme pre IPO as an Invest NI Scaling client and the importance of building a strong Board. Paul Kerr, having taken Fusion Antibodies to the market in December 2017 with just 14 employees and revenues of £1.9m, highlighted that an IPO is a viable funding option for such early stage, scalable companies; a message that was reinforced by Fusion Board Member and Private Equity investor Colin Walsh of Crescent Capital.

Bod Buckby of the London Stock Exchange Group gave an overview of the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) which has provided over £100bn of capital to c900 businesses since inception in 1995. Aside from the ongoing access to capital, he talked about the wider benefits of an IPO - the increased visibility and public profile, global credibility and status, ability to attract and retain the highest quality management and employee incentivisation to name but a few.

Kevin McAllister of PwC, who advised Diaceutics and Fusion Antibodies in achieving their listings, helped to demystify the IPO process by pointing out ‘it’s not rocket science, rather a relatively simple and well-trodden path with a wealth of advisors willing to guide and assist you along the way’.

it’s not rocket science, rather a relatively simple and well-trodden path with a wealth of advisors willing to guide and assist you along the way.

Kevin McAllister, PwC

Peter Keeling from Diaceutics took to the stage again with the ‘Diaceutics IPO Dream Team’, Stephen Keys of Cenkos Securities plc , Lucy Tyrrell of DAC Beachcroft and Paul McManus of Walbrook PR and talked through the process in detail, the roles they each played and the importance of working together to deliver a successful IPO.

The ‘unsung heroes’, the CFOs of Diaceutics, Kainos and Fusion Antibodies, Philip White, Richard McCann & James Fair talked about the reality of life as a plc with the resounding message being to ‘make sure you hit the numbers’.

Peter Keeling and Paul Kerr both agreed both agreed that a stock market listing was an important aspect of achieving their growth ambitions.

For any NI business out there considering an IPO, when the time is right for you, the team at Invest NI and the team of professionals that helped us deliver such a fantastic event would be delighted to engage and assist you on your journey. Please do not hesitate to get in touch, www.investni.com or 0800 181 4422.

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