NI finance IT firm’s profits jump 86pc

8 Jun 2004

Newry-based IT provider to the financial services industry First Derivative has reported a turnover of £2.6m sterling, up 62.5pc on a year ago, as well as a 86.5pc increase in profits to £757k sterling. The company claims it has now sold its Kx database technology to eight out of 10 of the largest global investment banks in the US.

The company said that the financial gains were largely due to a significant upturn in business during the second half of its financial year, which ended February 29, 2004.

The London Stock Exchange-listed firm reported that earnings per share increased by 37.5pc from 2.4p to 3.3p, encouraging the company to offer shareholders a first-time dividend of 1.1p per share.

The young company, which topped the Deloitte & Touch Fast 50 in 2001, ended the financial year with a cash balance of £848k sterling in the bank.

“The increase in activity experienced in the second half of the financial year has continued into the early part of the current year. This increase is in all areas of the company’s activity and the board looks to the coming year with confidence,” said David Anderson, chairman of First Derivatives plc.

He continued: “Capital markets experienced an upturn in activity in the second half of the year at the same time rates hardened after four years of weakness. Recurring revenues from support contracts during the year represented 53pc of turnover.”

In terms of the company’s e-business division, which was established last year following the acquisition of a division of plc, Anderson said: “Business sales are being generated principally from a joint venture with BT.”

However, Anderson warned: “Sales have been slow but we are starting to see an increase in the level of this activity as BT starts to market the product suite. However, we do not anticipate that this activity will be profitable at least until the year ended February 2006.”

By John Kennedy