InsightsNewsletterRenatus’ Private Equity M&A Newsletter – 28/01/2024

Renatus’ Private Equity M&A Newsletter – 28/01/2024

Thought for the Week

Ibec, Ireland’s largest lobby & business representative group produced sobering conclusions to a survey this week. The adoption of new labour market policies in Ireland, which encompasses pension auto-enrolment, heightened employer PRSI, increased sick pay and expanded leave entitlements, is poised to have a substantial financial impact on businesses. Ibec estimates an annual addition of over €4bn to the wage bill of Irish employers. Additionally, a new inflationary pay deal for c. 385k civil and public sector workers has been agreed between union and Government representatives that will see pay rises of 10.25% over 2½ years. We are not downplaying the nearly impossible task of making ends meet without state support on a minimum wage; it accentuates the lose-lose situation that exists in the open market. As at the end of Aug’23, c. 60k of Irish businesses that participated in Revenue’s pandemic-era debt warehousing initiative still owed a combined total debt of c. €1.9bn. A considerable segment of the businesses that took advantage of the warehousing scheme comprises SMEs, which serve as the backbone of the Irish economy and play a crucial role in employing significant numbers of individuals throughout the country.

According to Ibec’s evaluation, the government’s policy trajectory is expected to result in labour cost increases ranging from 25% – 30% for the businesses most profoundly affected. In a letter to the Government, Ibec has called on the Government to:

  1. Pause all further labour market policy measures which involve a direct or indirect cost to employers.
  2. Publish a full impact assessment of increased labour costs on business arising from the totality of recent labour market policy measures.
  3. Commit to a new ‘Competitiveness Charter’ setting an annual ceiling on the total amount of additional labour market costs which will be imposed on business in any single year.

We encourage people to like this post so that the Government realises how precarious the situation is for SMEs in Ireland: Ibec LinkedIn Post

M&A Activity

Bruce College acquired by Dukes Education

Deal Details:  Bruce College has been acquired by Dukes Education. Deal consideration was not reported.

Bruce College is a private, co-educational, Leaving Cert-­focused grinds school founded in 1990 by Liam O’Hora. It currently provides senior-cycle tuition and exam-preparation courses in 26 Leaving Cert subjects to over 270 full-time students and thousands of part-time students each year. The business does not report revenue or EBITDA information.

Dukes Education is a UK-headquartered schools group that was founded by Aatif Hassan in 2015. The group also runs a number of summer schools, camps, universities and medical school consultancies, as well as immersive career experiences. The business does not report turnover  or EBITDA information.

Advisers:
Bruce College:
Corporate Finance: Clearwater International led by John Sheridan and Jonathan McDonnell.
Legal: MHP Sellors led by Caroline Meaney.
Tax: HDS Partnership led by John Hinchy.

Dukes Education:
Legal: Eversheds led by Gavin O’Flaherty.
Tax: PwC led by John Murphy.

Renatus Comment: This deal marks Dukes Education’s second acquisition in Ireland after acquiring The Institute of Education in Apr’23. The private education sector is appealing due to 1) the strong demand associated with these services and 2) the durable cash flows. The strong demand is driven by various factors including increased competition for CAO points, a shortage of teachers in critical subjects within schools, and a perception that certain subject instructors may be falling short in performance in some schools. 

Source: Irish Independent

X3T merges with Strategic Imperatives

Deal Details: X3T and Strategic Imperatives have announced a merger. The two companies will commence a merger of their operations this month with a vision to make Strategic Imperatives’ Fibre Café platform the dominant solution in the market for internet service providers to access wholesale fibre networks. Deal consideration was not disclosed. 

X3T is a telecoms software business led by National Broadband Ireland (NBI)’s chairman David McCourt. The company is based in Dublin and was founded by Granahan McCourt Capital, a worldwide investor and leader in the telecoms industry. The company does not report turnover or EBITDA information. 

Strategic Imperatives is a UK SaaS connectivity, provisioning and monetising specialist for the telecoms industry. The business was founded in 2006 and is mainly owned by Wail Sabbagh. The company does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

Advisers:
X3T:
Legal: Clarkslegal.

Strategic Imperatives:
Legal: Russell-Cooke.

Renatus Comment: X3T is responsible for creating and delivering the National Broadband Plan. The biggest commercial and state backed investment into rural Ireland’s broadband infrastructure providing over 559k premises with high speed broadband through an open-access network with National Broadband Ireland laying enough fibre to go round the world nearly four times. The plan was noted as one of the most ambitous broadband rollouts globally. A spokesperson for X3T told The Currency that the deal recognises “Strategic Imperatives’ existing active customer base, skilled technical team, and complementary SaaS platform that has already gained traction in a competitive market”.

Source: Strategic Imperative Press Release

Keelings Fresh International acquires Caposud

keeling

Deal Details: Keelings Fresh International has acquired Caposud. Deal consideration was not disclosed.

Keelings Fresh International is a Dublin-based fresh produce supplier with 3,000 acres of owned farms across Ireland, Costa Rica and Brazil and further sourcing fresh produce from 46 countries worldwide. The company has been owned by the Keelings family since its establishment in 1926. The business does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

Caposud is a fresh produce distributor specialising in sourcing avocados, citrus, pomegranates and grapes. The company is based in the Rungis market in Paris. The company imports fresh fruit and vegetables from the southern hemisphere, South Africa and Chile. Eleven employees from Caposud are expected to join the Keelings Group along with sole-owner, Eric Vallet, who will work alongside Keelings in a consultancy role. The company does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

Advisers:
Keelings Fresh International:
Corporate Finance: Grant Thornton led by David Kealy and Patrick Dillon.

Caposud:
None Mentioned.

Renatus Comment: As the preference for healthy eating grows, the demand for fresh produce is on the rise. Keelings’ strategic acquisition of Caposud not only expands its presence in the Rungis Market but also broadens its product range. This development also aims to strengthen Keelings’ supply chain, with plans to use Caposud’s 27,000 sq ft facility. 

Source: Keelings Press Release

NAA acquires Stephen Miller Packaging

Deal Details: NAA has acquired Stephen Miller Packaging. Deal consideration was not reported.

NAA is a distributor to the furniture, woodworking and packaging industries. The company is the exclusive partner of HB Fuller adhesives, and it was founded by James Hickey in 1924 and is currently owned by Conor Hickey, Luke Hickey and Laragh Carroll. The business does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

Stephen Miller Packaging is an adhesives distributor serving the packaging industry. The Dublin-based company is the exclusive distributor of Beardow Adams adhesives and it is owned and operated by Stephen Miller. The company does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

Advisers: None Mentioned. 

Renatus Comment: The acquistion of Stephen Miller Packaging will expand NAA’s adhesive portfolio and strengthen its ability to cater to the food packaging sector. With a notable shift in the Irish food packaging industry towards plant-based packaging for its biodegradable advantages, Stephen Miller Packaging, as the exclusive distributor for Beardrow Adams adhesives (a hot-melt vegan adhesive for the food packaging industry) in Ireland, is well-positioned alongside NAA to capitalise on this growing demand.

Source: Business Plus

FitzGerald Flynn Insurances acquired by Campion Insurance

Deal Details: FitzGerald Flynn Insurances has been acquired by Campion Insurance. Deal consideration was not disclosed.

FitzGerald Flynn Insurances is a Blackrock-based insurance broker. The broker was established in 1998 and is led by Niall FitzGerald and Val Diggin. In FY Jun’22, the business reported turnover of c. €608k and EBITDA of c. €82k.

Campion Insurance leads the Irish division at PIB Group. PIB Group is a London-based insurance broker that also provides advisory, analytics, claims management, premium funding, and risk management solutions. The business was founded in 2015 by Brendan McManus and is backed by private equity firm Apax Funds. In FY Dec’22, the business reported turnover of c. £345m which converted to an Adj. EBITDA of c. £91m.

Advisers:
FitzGerald Flynn Insurances:
Corporate Finance: PKF led by David Lucas and Conor O’Rourke.
Legal: Wallace Corporate Counsel led by Gar Smyth, Sean Hiney and Glynn Ladle.

Campion Insurance:
Legal: DLA Piper led by Matt Cole and Blayre McBride.

Renatus Comment: In October last year, Campion Insurance acquired Munstergroup Insurance, based in Clare, strengthening PIB’s portfolio of companies. The trend of insurance broker deals seems set to continue into the New Year.

Source: Business Plus

Occupli acquires Elite Ambulance Emergency Training & Supplies

Deal Details: Occupli has acquired Elite Ambulance Emergency Training & Supplies. Deal consideration was not disclosed.

Occupli (formerly Chris Mee Group) is a provider of health and safety training, food safety, recruitment, consultancy and environmental solutions. Occupli is owned by Irish private-equity firm Erisbeg. In FY Dec’22, the company reported turnover of c. €9.3m which converted to an EBITDA of c. €997k.

Elite Ambulance Emergency Training & Supplies is owned by Donal Twomey. It is a Cork-based training, consultancy and supplies company. The business does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

Advisers
Occupli:
Legal: LK Shields led by Lester Sosa-Villatoro and Emmet Scully.
Tax: EY led by John Kennelly.
Corporate Finance: RBK led by Aidan Heavey.

Elite Ambulance Emergency Training & Supplies:
None Mentioned.

Renatus Comment: Aligned with the growing stringency of environmental regulations, the intricacy of workplace safety legislation has risen, providing support for companies operating in the health & safety sector. The acquisition of Elite Ambulance Emergency Training & Supplies marks Occupli’s second acquisition, following from the acquisition of Florentine Loughney Safety Training in Sep’23.

Source: Occupli Press Release 

Deal Updates & Other News

HealthBeacon to be acquired by Hamilton Beach Brands

Deal Details: HealthBeacon is set to be acquired by Hamilton Beach Brands in a deal reported to be worth c. €6.9m. HealthBeacon is a Dublin-based digital health company that IPO’d in 2021 before subsequently getting into financial distress. Hamilton Beach Brands is a US-based seller of home appliances.

This deal will see senior creditors recover full contributions along with unsecured creditors receiving 55% of what they are owed. This scheme arrangement was created by Shane McCarthy of KPMG who was appointed to HealthBeacon as examiner when the company ran out of cash in October 2023. The rescue deal will see the company delisted from the Irish stock market with its market cap valued at c. €1.2m when share-trading was haulted in mid-October having fallen from a market cap at IPO of c. €100m.

Source: The Irish Times

Company Performance

EBITDA  is an accounting term and is often the best indicator of profitability in non-capital intensive businesses before financing and tax are considered. In capital-intensive businesses EBIT or EBITDA less average Capital Expenditure are often better measures. YoY is an acronym for the year-on-year movement in turnover, EBITDA, etc.

Leinster Reinforcements Limited is a Dublin-based company that fabricates steel products targeted at non-residential construction sectors. It is owned by Frank Brazil, Eileen Walsh and Pat Delaney.

In its financial year to December 2022 the business generated a turnover of c. €161.2m, an increase of 59.4% year-on-year. This converted to c. €31.4m EBITDA, an increase of 332.4%. The increase in EBITDA was driven by revenue growth and gross margin improvements.

The business finished the year with a cash balance of c. €5.4m, a c. €4.4m increase on FY Dec’21. Significant post-EBITDA cash movements include payments to acquire tangible assets and investment in working capital.

The business employed 215 people over the period at a total cost of c. €15.4m.

Fundraisings

Who: Marama Labs, an Irish/New Zealand-based start-up specialising in novel spectroscopy technology for chemical analysis of complex liquids in industries including winemaking and life sciences.

What:  The company has raised €1.75m led by The Yield Lab.

Why: This investment will allow Marama Labs to scale up hardware manufacturing for its patented CloudSpec spectroscopy instrumentation and cloud software data analytics tool.

Source: Business Post

Who: OYL, a Dublin-based specialist mushroom coffee start-up.

What: The company is intending to raise €700k by crowdfunding with Venrex backing the company again and Enterprise Ireland also investing.

Why:  The funding will be used to grow the company in the UK and US markets.

Source: Business Post

Who: Glitch Ads, Inspeq AI, Gemell, Cocu, Talio, Shōden, GamesGrid and NocoMed, eight Irish tech companies that participated in the Founders Talent Accelerator.

What: Each of the companies raised €100k in pre-seed funding after the 12-week programme.

Why: The funds will be used to support the new tech start-ups.

Source: Business Plus

Who: Foresight’s SME Impact Fund, first established in 2022 with €30m backing from AIB. The fund is led by Barclay Clibborn and Philip Gardiner.

What: The fund recently raised an additional €25m from ISIF (Ireland Strategic Investment Fund), taking the total fund to €55m.

Why: The funds will be used to increase the size of its Dublin office and to invest into SMEs on the island of Ireland.

Source: Business Post

Executive and Board Appointments

Pat Flynn

Source:
(Google Images & LinkedIn)

Jack Swinburne

Source:
(Google Images & LinkedIn)

pkf

John Flynn

Source:
(Google Images & LinkedIn)

Eoin Kenny

Source:
(Google Images & LinkedIn)

pkf

Kevin Quinn

Source:
(Google Images & LinkedIn)

pkf

@RenatusCapital Tweets

20%

The decrease in new hires in Irish jobs market from 2022 to 2023 according to @MorganMcKinley

2.9%

The annual rate of house price inflation in November 2023, up from 2.2% in the previous month according to @CSOIreland

32,695

The number of new homes built across Ireland in 2023, up 10% on the previous year according to @CSOIreland

48,689

The number of new .ie domains registered up to 31 December 2023, an increase of 0.34% on the previous year according to @RTE

About Renatus

Renatus was established in 2014 to provide growth funding to growing Irish SMEs and to partner with ambitious management teams to help companies reach their full potential.

Renatus targets companies with sustainable earnings of €1m+ and valuations typically in the range of €5m – €20m. Our typical solutions include:

  • Succession planning
  • Management buyouts
  • Management buy-ins
  • Growth financing – both organic and acquisition growth financing
  • Full and partial share sale

Our Family of Investments

Current Portfolio:

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