If an Irish company needs to raise capital to scale its business, is an initial public offering a fundraising option?

Orla O'Gorman, Head of Listings at Euronext Dublin - Ireland's main stock exchange - believes Irish companies are not realising the funding potential that is available through an IPO.

"There is a huge range of finance available for companies here in Ireland," Ms O'Gorman said.

"The most important thing for any company or any management team is to understand those sources of finance and pick the correct one for them, because they all have positives and negatives, and it's all about matching the source of finance to what you need.

"IPO is an option. It delivers hugely to companies," she said.

The amount of money that is available for public companies is huge, much bigger than any other source of funding. The stock exchange in Dublin is part of Euronext, which operates pan-European markets, and companies in other countries come to the market much earlier than Irish companies and use the markets to scale.

"I think it is a lack of understanding of what's involved, so that is part of my role is to help companies to understand what's involved and how they can go about it," Ms O'Gorman said.

"We have some fantastic companies in Ireland, huge success stories, and we need to get more companies building on the back of that."

One of the success stories is fuel forecourt and service station operator Applegreen, which debuted on the stock market four years ago, at a market cap of €300m. The company has returned to the market four times since to raise subsequent capital with a market cap of €620m. 

Euronext Dublin is running an IPO Ready programme with Enterprise Ireland and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund.

It gives companies the skill sets they require to raise money and to understand the different sources of finance and which are the right ones for them. It is suitable for companies who want to scale, who want to raise money and possibly IPO in the next two to three years.

To be IPO ready, a company needs to have a good growth story that will interest investors. "It's all about the ambition to grow, the ability to use capital if you can raise it and have the company ready for IPO and understand what an IPO can bring to you, and how you can maximise it," Ms O'Gorman said.