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Looking inside IR Back  
In the inaugural FINANCE Investor Relations Survey 2006 published in December, CRH and Paddy Power emerged as winners. Eimear O'Flynn and Jack Massey explain what makes their respective investor relations functions tick.
At CRH, the company has been engaged in the practice of investor relations for many years and the team, led by √Čimear O'Flynn (head of investor relations) under the direction of Myles Lee (finance director), includes a mix of business and finance professionals supported by their operating company colleagues and corporate communications advisors.

The firm won three awards in this year's survey: 'Best Pre-Close Trading Statement', 'Best IR Website', and 'Most Value in Post-Results Presentations and Conference Calls'.
Communication with shareholders is given a high priority at CRH, and according to O'Flynn, there is regular dialogue with institutional investors, as well as presentations and conference calls to support the issuance of results, trading statements and major announcements by the group.
The firm aims, 'to maintain an active and open dialogue with investors, to provide good investor access to our senior executives and to give clear information on our strategic objectives and trading conditions' says O'Flynn.

Being a highly acquisitive, diversified, international building materials group, also impacts on the firm's IR strategy, and so CRH recognises the importance of providing clear and transparent information on our various activities and also the value of regular meetings with investors and analysts, she adds.

Jack Massey joined Paddy Power as finance director and a member of the board in April 2006. Prior to this, he worked with ITG Europe, the European division of the NYSE quoted company, Investment Technology Group Inc, where he had been chief operating officer since 2002.
As Paddy Power is a micro-cap, with a market capitalisation of ?853 million, Massey is also responsible for the firm's investor relations (IR) function. In this year's survey, the firm won the award for the 'Best IR Services' for a micro-cap firm.

The firm manages a comprehensive investor relations programme throughout the year, and ensures that various members of management are nearly always available to meet visiting investors.

'We work hard to provide a high level of detail on operational performance, and also on less tangible areas like marketing performance and the Paddy Power brand values, in both published results and presentations, which I think is appreciated by shareholders,' adds Massey.
Managing the expectation of investors in a sports betting business like Paddy Power is different to other sectors, says Massey, as, 'it includes one fairly unique challenge given short term profitability can fluctuate significantly due simply to the run of sporting results. This is a key point we cover in all our communications to ensure any investors new to the sector appreciate it. More generally, we aim to ensure investors get a balanced view of each of our businesses, reflecting both their strengths and our confidence, but also any challenges faced'.

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