The 2015 All-Europe Research Team: Ireland, No. 1: Barry Dixon & team
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The 2015 All-Europe Research Team: Ireland, No. 1: Barry Dixon & team

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Investors and buy-side analysts continue to deem local brokerage Davy the best sell-side firm covering Irish equities.

< The 2015 All-Europe Research Team

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Barry Dixon & team

Davy

First-Place Appearances: 15


Total Appearances: 16


Team Debut: 1998


Investors and buy-side analysts continue to deem local brokerage Davy the best sell-side firm covering Irish equities. Head of research Barry Dixon, 47, leads his Dublin-based squad to its seventh straight turn in the winner’s circle, raising the firm’s total number of top finishes to 15. Going back to its 1998 debut, with the exception of 2007, when Davy slipped to second place, the firm has dominated this roster every year the survey has produced publishable Ireland results. Over the past year, Dixon’s group has expanded by four members, raising its total to 19 people, and they track 51 domestic shares. Clients readily sing their praises: “They’re knowledgeable and well-connected,” asserts one money manager, who particularly values their reporting on Dublin’s Bank of Ireland. “The multinational investment banks have typically been too negative,” the client says, “but Davy’s call has been spot-on. Being based in Dublin gives them an advantage over their rivals.” The analysts have been bullish on the nation’s oldest and largest listed bank since upgrading it from neutral to outperform in March 2013, largely owing to improving margins. By the end of last month, the stock had bolted 68.8 percent, to €0.27, besting the domestic broad market by 26.2 percentage points. The group is also upbeat on the prospects for multinational food producer Glanbia, which is headquartered in Kilkenny. Dixon pronounces Glanbia “an exciting combination of two growth platforms,” noting that both its ingredients business and consumer nutrition franchise are profitable. Despite heavy capital spending, the company will return 15.3 percent on invested capital for 2015, more than three times its cost of capital, he notes. Moreover, Glanbia management has set a five-year target of 8 to 10 percent annual earnings-per-share growth. “We know of few — if any — companies with the same confidence in their prospects for growth,” says the 47-year-old crew chief. The executive team at paper and container manufacturer Smurfit Kappa Group has Dixon and his colleagues looking favorably on its stock, as well. The Dublin-based company is enjoying sustained pricing power in Europe, he says, while costs of energy and debt-service have been kept in check, generating €400 million ($453 million) in yearly free cash flow. Moreover, following five years of “enforced debt reduction,” adds Dixon, Smurfit can now put its money to work on “shareholder value–enhancing activities, including M&A, dividends and share buybacks.”



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