2020 was one of the most active periods for Irish corporates accessing the equity capital markets

Head of listing for Ireland and the UK for Euronext Niall Jones on his role and successfully raising capital prior to the Raising Capital Summit

8th November, 2021
2020 was one of the most active periods for Irish corporates accessing the equity capital markets
Niall Jones, Head of Listing – Ireland & UK, Euronext

What's your name and what position do you hold?

Niall Jones, Head of Listing – Ireland and UK

What are your day to day responsibilities?

I am responsible for managing our relationship with Euronext Dublin listed companies as well as the local ecosystem and companies looking to list on Euronext markets. I also lead our pre-IPO programme, IPOready, which provides executives in high-growth companies with the required tools and skills to prepare their company for a stock market listing. My role is centred on connecting local companies to global capital markets in order to fund and accelerate innovation and growth.

What is your professional background?

I joined Euronext in 2019, with 15+ years of experience in corporate advisory in Dublin and London.

How do you see the current Covid situation affecting capital fundraising for businesses?

2020 was one of the most active periods for Irish corporates accessing the equity capital markets. They raised over €4 billion in follow-on funding rounds last year. The ability to return to the market to raise funds in an efficient manner demonstrates the real value of a stock market listing. 2021 has been somewhat less active in terms of follow-on fund raisings as balance sheets are now broadly in a position of strength domestically. We are seeing a new generation of companies, in the digital and clean technology sectors especially, access outside capital in Ireland and more broadly across Europe.

What are the practical steps to successfully raise capital?

Understanding all of your financing options is key so you can evaluate the costs and benefits of each. Once you have decided on the best source of capital, you need to ensure your company is investment ready from a governance and financial reporting perspective. Having the right investment pitch for potential investors you are targeting is key and this is something that you can finesse with your financial advisors.

What can the government do to attract private capital investment in firms and make equity financing easier to access?

There were a number of specific reforms highlighted in the European Commission’s Technical Expert Stakeholder Group on SME’s in its June 2021 report that we would encourage the government to consider with a view to implementing. The proposals focus on the attractiveness and accessibility of public markets for smaller companies, increasing the benefits of being a listed company, reducing the initial and ongoing costs for listing and the administrative complexity, increasing the ability to use multiple voting rights shares, providing additional research coverage as well as empowering retail investors. Together, the TESG proposals will deliver proportionate listing requirements for SME’s, supportive tax policies, increased investor access, and higher profile for the many EU SME’s, which are key generators of economic growth.

What will be the leading trends in the financial services sector in the coming years and how will companies need to adapt?

ESG and specifically the transition to a sustainable economy is and will continue to be the biggest macro trend for the sector and society in the years to come. When we look at our listed companies, we see that there are many positive initiatives underway to transition to net zero. In line with Cop26, more and more companies are reporting their net zero carbon goals. In fact, we saw a marked increase in the number of Irish companies producing standalone sustainability reports last year and we expect this trend to accelerate and be integrated into how businesses are run in the future.

What’s next for your company?

We are excited that we will be presenting our new three-year strategic plan later today, so that will cover a lot of what is to come for Euronext.

How do you advise clients looking to enhance their skillsets for scaling their companies and raising strategic finance?

We have just closed the application process for our 2022 IPOready programme but I’d recommend companies potentially interested in listing to contact us directly and we can discuss their possibilities.

What were the highlights of recent funding’s for issuers?

I think the Corre Energy IPO in September on our Growth market in Dublin was instructive. It shows that the equity markets are accessible for small companies looking for capital. It listed with a €62 million market capitalisation, was oversubscribed and had upsized its fundraising amount during the process. As a hydrogen-based energy storage company and the first cleantech to list on Euronext Dublin markets, it is exactly the type of capital-intensive company that can use the stock market to grow its business and support society’s net-zero carbon goals.

How difficult is the IPO journey for smaller companies?

Often there’s a perception that the IPO journey is only suitable for very large companies, however the reality is, how Corre Energy has recently demonstrated, the markets are accessible for smaller companies. At Euronext, we have had 167 new companies join our markets this year already, 152 of these have been SME’s with a market cap of less than €1 billion, so the market is accessible for smaller companies. We have investors looking to invest in the next generation of blue-chip companies on our markets.

Niall Jones will be speaking at the Raising Capital Summit on Tuesday 9 November at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin 8

For more details visit capitalsummit.ie

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