Global will mull IPO on €100m valuation

Cork-based financial services firm Global Shares aims to be in a position in 2020 where it could stage an initial public offering (IPO) on either the London Stock Exchange or the Nasdaq. The firm is expected to be valued at about €100m by then and making pre-tax profits of $16m (€15.1m)

A recent fundraising by the company secured €4.5m in backing, with a number of well-heeled businesspeople stumping up cash. Technology entrepreneur Pearse Mee invested €900,000. The fundraising valued Global Shares at €28.2m.

Global Shares was founded in 2005. The founder and former chief executive of IFG, Richard Hayes, later led an investment group that took a significant interest in the Cork firm. He is now chairman of Global Shares.

The company has developed software used by companies to manage their employee equity plans. It works with about 200 firms, and its clients include well-known public and private companies such as UniCredit, Sage, Experian, Skanska, GSK Ireland, Ambev, Irish Life and PM Group.

Global Shares has recently signed a number of significant strategic partnerships.

It inked an agreement with US financial services giant Fidelity that will see Global Shares software made available to the US firm’s individual clients, who can use it to sell shares or share options, when managing their retirement plans, for example. Fidelity would benefit by executing transactions on behalf of customers.

Global Shares has also signed an agreement with Hong Kong-based Yunfeng Financial Group, a brokerage in which Alibaba founder Jack Ma and others have invested $346m. Global Shares hopes to use Yunfeng as a growth platform similar to the way in which it will use Fidelity in the United States.

The Clonakilty company, which employs 100 people, has also signed a partnership with Singapore-based Boardroom, the leading share registrar in southeast Asia.

Last year, Global Shares secured $4.8m of new business, with 83pc of that expected to be recurring on an annual basis.

This year, the company hopes to generate $6.9m of new business, with its total revenue hitting between $10m and $11m.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Hayes confirmed that the company aims to be in a position where it could make a stockmarket debut by 2020 if it chooses to do so. The company’s annual revenue that year is targeted to be $35m.
“What we’re talking about is very ambitious,” he said, in terms of Global Shares’ growth projections.

He also said that he does not expect to have to tap shareholders again for funding, as Global Shares should begin to generate cash “very quickly”.

Other backers in Global Shares include Will Wyatt, the chief executive of London-based Caledonia Investments, Fexco founder Brian McCarthy and Blarney Castle owner Sir Charles Colthurst.
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