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Thursday, 13th August 2020
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CRH sweeps awards again in plc survey Back  
Building material groups CRH dominates survey, but fund managers also highly rate small to mid capped stocks. Technology stocks rise in favour as financials slip down the rankings.
CRH was the top ranked company in Finance’s seventh annual plc survey. Both Irish and international fund managers rated Irish companies and despite a turbulent market CRH again scooped the top slot in the survey published in this month’s issue.

The building materials group swept the board to collect six of the first place rankings in the survey. The company won best strategic positioning, best acquisitions capability, best capital structure, strongest marketing strength, accounting information and corporate goverance.

While the twelve largest companies (AIB, Baltimore Technologies, Bank of Ireland, CRH, Eircom, Elan, Independent News & Media, Irish Life & Permanent, Kerry Group, Jefferson Smurfit, Ryanair and Smartforce) dominated the top ranked companies several small to mid capped companies made significant inroads to the ratings.

Grafton Group, also a building materials company, won the dividend policy category, moving up from last year’s runner up slot. In the same category Bank of Ireland rose from last year’s tenth place slot to this year’s second place.

Although there have been indications that second line stocks were finding it harder to attract investors, fund managers’ ratings of many of the mid-sized stocks as better positioned strategically that the larger companies. Iona Technologies, IAWS, Grafton Group, Horizon, Green Property and United Drug, are all named in the top twenty for strategic positioning, while the likes of Bank of Ireland, Eircom, Independent News & Media are noticeable by their absence from the higher positions.

Barlo group was ranked in 21st place in the strategically positioned companies as well as making the top ten in acquisitions capability, accounting information and corporate goverance.

Technology featured well in this year’s results reflecting the faith fund managers are placing in this area, despite recent fluctuations and corrections on many exchanges during the year. There were first time showings for both Horizon and newly listed Baltimore in the top ten strategically positioned rankings.

Smurfit group again topped the most improved investor relations category for the second year running.

Financial shares have continued to move down the ratings of strategic positioning, with AIB falling to nineteenth position from last year’s seventh. Irish Life & Permanent remained in twentieth place while Anglo Irish Bank showed a slight improvement moving up three slots to this year’s twelfth place.

First and second place stay as last year in ‘accounting information’ with CRH first and AIB second. Again more of the new companies beat the traditional organisations to take their place in this category with Horizon coming in fourth and IFG Group in sixth. Heiton Holdings does well in seventh position as do Barlo Group, Iona and IAWS in the respective eighth ninth and tenth positions.

This year the survey recognised the rising role that international fund managers now play in buying Irish company shares. See survey on page 8.

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