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An opportunity to extend exposure in international markets Back  
The globalisation of markets will become a key factor in the evolving financial and economic conditions of the 21st century. The Nasdaq-Amex Market Group is leading the charge in 'shaping the new world of investing' and creating opportunities for capital formation for this global market of the future writes Charles Balfour.
In October of 1998 The Nasdaq Stock Market and the American Stock Exchange (Amex) joined forces under the Nasdaq-Amex Market Group. Under Nasdaq-Amex, companies are offered a choice of market structure within one market group: a multiple market-making structure and a specialist central auction market. The structure that Nasdaq-Amex has built aims to combine various pools of international capital allowing companies that list on the market to have access to the cheapest possible capital via a highly liquid market structure.

It is the fastest growing major market in the world, serving millions of investors around the globe and listing more companies than any other market in the world. The sheer number of companies listed on Nasdaq-Amex (more than 6,000) and the leading edge technology implemented by the market allows investors rapid access to the companies and creates a high level of liquidity; the volume of trades that are conducted daily is testament to this.

Today, more than 450 non-US companies from 36 countries trade on Nasdaq-Amex, among them 11 Irish companies including market heavyweights like CRH, Waterford Wedgewood and Iona Technologies. Nasdaq offers these companies increased exposure to US and international investors creating opportunities that may not be as readily available with other markets.

The choice of the US as a 'capital raising' destination lies in the fact that it has the largest pool of investment capital in the world-$14 trillion. One of the most efficient ways for non-US companies to tap this vast source of capital is to list on one of the US stock exchanges. In 1998, companies raised almost $50 billion in Initial Public Offerings in the US. More than 80% of all US IPOs listed on Nasdaq-Amex in 1998, this outpaces all other US markets. The capital raised by Irish IPOs between March 1994 and February 1999 was $479.9 million, with Iona Technologies PLC raising the largest amount of capital over $137,000.

Nasdaq-Amex is an obvious choice for Irish companies, especially technology companies, that wish to become quoted companies. However, the abundance of technology companies should not deter companies from other sectors from considering a Nasdaq-Amex listing(the market is renowned for listing innovative companies from a variety of sectors. Our market is dominated by leading companies from a variety of sectors such as technology, biotechnology, telecommunications, engineering and financial services. Irish companies should look to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by this access to institutional and retail investors throughout the world.

Irish companies can particularly benefit from the global diversification afforded by a Nasdaq-Amex listing which increases a company's presence in the US market, as well as their visibility to an international audience. Many of the companies on Nasdaq-Amex have a dual listing, often with their local stock exchange, offering the company the opportunity to improve domestic investor loyalty, whilst continuing to increase the company's relations with the international institutional community.

[12 month share price graphs - include share price graphs of Ryanair, CRH and Esat]

The Irish market is important to Nasdaq-Amex and there are Irish companies that can achieve growth through a listing. and we are constantly in talks with Irish companies to develop their interest in listing with us. For many of Ireland's companies interested in improving their access to capital and increasing their opportunity to extend their exposure in international markets, Nasdaq-Amex is an attractive prospect.

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