InsightsNewsletterRenatus’ Private Equity M&A Newsletter – 09/06/2024

Renatus’ Private Equity M&A Newsletter – 09/06/2024

Thought for the Week

If you take the old market adage of ‘Sell in May and go away, don’t come back until St Leger’s Day’ (September), one would not expect much market volatility over the coming months.

However, two US statistics that made us sit up and watch over the past few weeks are worth noting.

Firstly, total consumer debt hit a fresh new high in the first quarter of 2023, pushing past $17 trillion even amid a sharp pullback in home borrowing.

Secondly, a recent New York Fed report said that nearly one in five US cardholders are using at least 90% of their credit limit (aka “maxed out”). That’s far above the 30% rate experts recommend and it’s leading to more past-due bills – about 9% of card balances fell into delinquency last year. “Serious delinquencies”, those past 90 days due, reached the highest level since 2010, according to the report.

Intuitively, the headroom of Covid savings must be gone at this stage and mass inflation has lingered, as we all see in our shopping basket every week.

There is nobody here shorting any market, we are driving on across the board but always need to keep our eyes open. We thought that these two are interesting and will keep watch for any other signs of slowdowns in the more traditional non-AI-driven world over the coming months.

Our Portfolio Companies Are Hiring

WH Scott Group is recruiting a Chief Financial Officer. WH Scott Group is a market leader in the UK & Ireland in the design, fabrication, supply, inspection and maintenance of equipment used in regulated, highly technical lifting and industrial markets. It is undergoing a period of rapid expansion both organically and through acquisition. This role will involve managing financial performance, leading value-add initiatives as well as executing and integrating acquisition opportunities. 

Irish Rollforming is recruiting a Finance Director. Irish Rollforming was first established in 2010 by Liam O’Sullivan as a single sheet cladding manufacturer and is evolving to become a leader in the production of highly accredited insulated panelling. The Finance Director will drive reporting, analysis and strategic alignment as the company embarks on a stage of high growth.

If you know anyone who might be interested in the roles outlined above, please email ovisit our website at: Alternatively, feel free to reach out directly to any Renatus team member.  

The Real Deal 2024 Highlights

For those of you who may have missed The Real Deal, or simply want to recap on the day, we have highlighted some insights shared by our distinguished guest speakers, composed of prominent Irish business leaders and entrepreneurs. 

The conference commenced with the highly anticipated “Deal Of The Year” interview featuring keynote speaker Niall Molloy, CEO of Echelon Data Centres. Dive into the full interview below where Niall spoke about his early career, property development, the next wave of Irish investment, data centres, AI, and more. View Niall Molloy’s Interview    

You can also explore the wealth of knowledge shared by all our panellists throughout the day, now accessible to view below: The Real Deal 2024 Video Library

M&A Activity

SuperValu acquires Clean Cut Meals

Deal Details: SuperValu has acquired Clean Cut Meals. The deal consideration was not disclosed.

SuperValu is one of the largest grocery and food distributors in Ireland. It is part of the Musgrave Group. Musgrave Group reported SuperValu’s revenue to be c. €3.3bn in FY Dec’22.

Clean Cut Meals is a convenience meal producer based in Galway. Established in 2015, the company has 20 staff. Prior to the deal, its focus was on online ordering and home delivery. The company was owned by Conor McCallion and Micheál Dyer. It does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

Advisers: None mentioned.

Renatus Comment: The convenience meal market has grown in popularity as consumer demand shifts towards convenient, quick and easy-to-prepare meals. A May 2023 report by Kantar detailed this shift, with convenience meals growing c. 19% in value and c. 14% in price year-on-year, versus total grocery growth of c. 6%. In line with this growth in demand, Clean Cut Meals is expected to see a material increase in sales with access to SuperValu & Centra’s nationwide retail network of c. 700 stores.

Source: Business Plus

BGF acquires minority stake in Eventmaster

Deal Details: BGF has acquired a minority stake in Eventmaster. The investment is reported to be c. €4m.

Eventmaster, founded in 2010, is a Limerick-based technology platform which provides ticketing, fundraising, and membership e-commerce software solutions for events, sporting bodies and charities. The company is owned by founder and CEO, John Cleary. The company does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

Legal: Regan Wall LLP led by Adrian Wall, Emma Cafferky and Fernanda Camera.
Financial: Focus Capital led by Eoin O’Keeffe and Hazel Slattery.

Legal: Beauchamps led by Shaun O’Shea.

Renatus Comment: Eventmaster has carved out an interesting niche in the Irish market, tailoring its offering for sports events, governing bodies and event organisers, managing over 3,000 events annually. Its events in Ireland have included the Dublin and Cork City marathons, with plans to expand into the UK market following BGF’s investment. With an increasing shift towards digital event management at a local level, precipitated by the pandemic, there are promising growth prospects for Eventmaster in the Irish & UK markets.

Source: RTE

Emerald Investment acquires Foley’s Bar

Deal Details: Emerald Investment has acquired Foley’s Bar. The deal consideration is expected to be in the range of €6-7m.

Emerald Investment is an investment management firm based in Dublin. The business co-founded Cairn Homes back in 2015. It does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

Foley’s Bar is a bar on Merrion Row in Dublin. The bar was previously owned by Seamus McEnaney who acquired the business from receivers in 2014 for €3.3m. The business does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

Advisers: None mentioned.

Renatus Comment: Emerald Investment has shown a continued interest in the pub sector across the UK and Ireland. Previous business ventures include the acquisition of Punch Taverns in 2016, leading a c. £1.7bn raise to finance the buyout of the then c. 1,900 pub estate. Punch Taverns was later sold to Heineken to form part of its Star Pubs & Bars estate. Emerald also acquired the Old Storehouse in Temple Bar in 2020 for c. €15m.

In 2023, 21 pubs changed hands in the Dublin market with a combined value of c. €50m, according to Lisney, with a further 9 at contract stage at the end of the year. Lisney has outlined its expectation that activity will persist, with private equity specifically focusing on upper-tier, city centre locations.

Source: The Irish Times

McSorley’s Pub acquired by Consortium of Investors

Deal Details: McSorley’s Pub has been acquired by a consortium of investors. The deal consideration is reported to be c. €5.5m.

McSorley’s Pub is a pub in Ranelagh. The establishment is currently owned by the Murray family who have been running the pub since 1991. The business does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

The consortium of investors is led by publican Noel Anderson, along with ex-Leinster rugby players, Jamie Heaslip, Rob Kearney, Dave Kearney and Sean O’Brien. Noel Anderson previously served as Chair of the Licensed Vintners’ Association (LVA), a representative trade body for publicans in Dublin.

Advisers: None Mentioned.

Renatus Comment: The acquisition of McSorley’s reinforces our previous comment, with deal activity in the licensed pub space expected to remain high in 2024. McSorley’s will join a collection of other establishments that the consortium owns including Lemon & Duke in Dublin city centre, The Bridge 1859 in Ballsbridge and The Blackrock in Blackrock, South Dublin. Noel Anderson is the majority owner and Managing Director of all of the businesses in the consortium. He has vast experience in the hospitality sector and will look to replicate the success being realised across the portfolio.

Source: The Irish Times


Wrightway Underwriting Ltd acquired by Pen Underwriting Ltd

Deal Details: Wrightway Underwriting Ltd has been acquired by Pen Underwriting Ltd. The deal consideration was not disclosed.

Wrightway Underwriting Ltd is based in Wexford and provides a full range of underwriting services. The company is currently led by Managing Director David Crean and was founded in 1999. It has since been acquired by Zurich Insurance Europe AG in 2007. In FY Dec’22 the company reported a turnover of c. €8.5m, converting to an EBITDA of c. €1.5m.

Pen Underwriting Ltd is a London-headquartered insurance underwriting company. The company is a unit of the global insurance brokerage Arthur J. Gallagher & Co and is currently led by Chief Executive, Tom Downey. In FY Dec’22 the company reported a turnover of c. £55.1m.

Wrightway Underwriting Ltd:
None mentioned.

Pen Underwriting Ltd:
Legal: Matheson led by Caroline Kearns, Karen Sheil, Michelle Daly, Matthew Broadstock, Russell Rochford, Lorcan Keenan and Anne-Marie Bohan.

Renatus Comment: While the Irish insurance market has undergone significant consolidation in recent years, activity has focused on the insurance brokerage segment of the market. There are c. 190 fully authorised reinsurance undertakings in Ireland, per A&L Goodbody, which represent viable candidates for a broadening of existing consolidation strategies. With Pen Underwriting having announced plans to become a £1.2bn GWP underwriting and distribution business, we will likely see further acquisitions in the underwriting segment of the market. The acquisition of Wrightway represents Pen’s first boots on the ground in Ireland.

Source: Arthur J. Gallagher & Co Press Release

Emeis sells three nursing homes to Healthcare Activos

Deal Details: Emeis Ireland has completed the sale of three nursing homes to Healthcare Activos. The deal is valued at c. €56m.

Emeis Ireland is a nursing home group with 24 nursing homes and 1 homecare business across Ireland. The three recently built nursing homes are in Portmarnock, Portlaoise and Kilkenny and have 332 beds between them. The group is wholly owned by Central & Eastern Europe Care Services Holdings S.A.R.L. In FY Dec’22 the company reported a turnover of c. €111.9m with an EBITDA of c. €1.9m.

Healthcare Activos real estate investment firm specialising in the healthcare sector across Europe. The company is headquartered in Spain with c. €910m in AUM spread across 64 assets. The business was founded by Jorge Guarner.

Legal: Mason Hayes & Curran led by Robert Dickson, Vanessa Byrne, Niamh Caffrey, Stephen Cowhey, Shane Dolan and Eimear Lyons.

Healthcare Activos  
None Mentioned.

Renatus Comment: The pace of consolidation in the nursing home sector slowed significantly following a spike from 2019-2022, with inflationary pressures, rising interest rates and issues with the Fair Deal scheme representing key headwinds. The Fair Deal scheme, which sees the HSE pay a portion of the cost of a nursing home bed, has not kept pace with the operational costs of these nursing homes. In July, Nursing Homes Ireland (“NHI”) reported that care costs have risen by 36% over the past five years, with weekly rates under the Fair Deal Scheme only rising 3.1% annually since 2017. While a decline in interest rates and slowing inflation will benefit the sector, operational pressures look likely to persist, with NHI continuing to call for additional public funding through the Fair Deal scheme to support the operation of care homes, with an ageing population likely to continue to increase demand.

Source: Emeis Press Release

Bretzel Bakery to acquire Arbutus Breads

Deal Details: Bretzel Bakery is set to be acquired Arbutus Breads at the start of July. The deal consideration was not reported.

Bretzel Bakery, based in Dublin, produces a variety of artisan breads, with additional bakeries in Kildare. The company is majority owned by William Despard. The company does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

Arbutus Breads is a Cork-based artisan bakery specialising in sourdough and yeast breads. The company is owned by Declan and Patricia Ryan, both of whom will retire post-acquisition. The company does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

None Mentioned. 

Renatus Comment: Declan Ryan was Ireland’s first Michelin star chef and took over Arbutus in 1970, with his wife Patricia. This represents an ideal succession option for the business, as Declan and Patricia retire, with an aligned business that also values superior quality over quantity. Furthermore, the acquisition of Arbutus will expand Bretzel Bakery’s presence in Munster, having already established a strong presence in the Leinster region.

Source: Irish Times

Deal Updates & Other News

Clarification: Zartis receives investment from Development Capital

Deal Details: Zartis has received investment from Development Capital, reported to be c. €10m.

Zartis is a Cork-based provider of bespoke software development solutions across areas such as technology consulting, team augmentation and product development. The company was founded in 2009 and is currently led by CEO Padraig Coffey. In FY Dec’22 the company reported a turnover of c. €19.3m which converted to EBITDA of c. €1.0m.

Development Capital, founded in 2013 by Andrew Bourg and Sinead Heaney, is an Irish development and growth capital fund manager. It is an arm of the accountancy firm BDO.

Source: Dempsey Corporate/ Zartis/ Development Capital Press Release

Intel sells stake in Leixlip plant to Apollo Global Management

Deal Details: Intel has sold a 49% stake in its Irish manufacturing facility under-construction in Leixlip, to Apollo Global Management. The deal is valued at c. $11bn (€10bn).

Intel is an American multinational tech company. Its Leixlip plant is a high-volume manufacturing facility currently under construction that will produce wafers using Intel 4 and Intel 3 process technologies. The deal will enable Intel to retain control while gaining funding for the project.

Apollo Global Management is an American asset management business focused on alternative assets. The business has c. $85bn AUM.

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.

EEW Ltd, is a Wexford-based company that specialises in the wholesale of electrical and plumbing goods. The company, founded in 1979, is wholly owned by Thomas and Catherine Byrne and has eight branches located across the South East of Ireland.

In its financial year to June 2023 the business generated turnover of c. €21.2m, an increase of c. 10.4% year-on-year. This converted to an EBITDA of c. €3.4m, an increase of c. 17.4%. The increase in EBITDA was driven by revenue growth and the realisation of operating leverage in the business.

The business finished the year with a cash balance of c. €9.1m, a c. €1.1m increase on FY Jun’22. Significant post-EBITDA cash movements included investment in working capital and payments to acquire fixed assets.

The business employed an average of 50 people over the period at a total cost of c. €2.3m.


Who: CX Academy, a Dublin-based customer experience online training business.

What: The company has raised c. €1.5m in funding with c. €1m coming from EIIS and Quintas and c. €500k from existing investors.

CX Academy:
Corporate Finance: Bay Advisory led by Brian McDonald.

Why: The funds will be used to add five senior executive staff and support revenue growth.

Source: Business Post

Who: MoveAhead, a movement analytics software used for children and teens in a variety of applications.

What: The company has raised c. €1.5m in funding from Growing Capital, Enterprise Ireland and angel investors.

Growing Capital :
Legal: Wallace Corporate Counsel LLP led by Alan Ryan, Graham J. Coyne, and Ciara Byrne.

Why: The funding will create six new jobs in Dublin as the business looks to internationalise.

Source: Business Post

Who: Overcast HQ, an AI-driven platform that manages video content online.

What: The business has raised c. €1.2m in funding from a group of angel investors.

Overcast HQ:
Legal: Wallace Corporate Counsel LLP led by Alan Ryan, Fran Keogh and James Collins Caffrey.

Why: The funds will be used to grow the team and develop its AI product features to meet growing demand.

Source: Silicon Republic


Who: WearMatter, Staffly, Mor, Beacon Admissions and Funki Drinks, five tech start-ups based in Northern Ireland.

What: Each of the companies has received £10k in proof of concept grants from Techstart Ventures, partnered with Catalyst.

Why: The grants will be used to help develop their products.

Source: Business Plus


Who: XOcean, the Louth-based manufacturer of autonomous boats used to survey the ocean for offshore developments.

What: The business has raised €6.5m in a funding round led by VentureWave Capital.

Why: The funding will be used to grow its existing fleet and invest in continued product development.

Source: Sunday Times

Executive and Board Appointments

Caroline Costello

(Google Images & LinkedIn)

Rachel Hayes

(Google Images & LinkedIn)

Deidre O’Donovan

(Google Images & LinkedIn)

Barbara Galvin

(Google Images & LinkedIn)

Michaela Herron

(Google Images & LinkedIn)

@RenatusCapital Tweets


The job churn rate across Ireland in Q1 2024, down 0.8 percentage points on Q1 2023 according to @CSOIreland


The drop in sales of new electric vehicles (“EV”) from last year, the seventh month out of the last nine that EV sales have fallen according to @SIMI_IE


The ECB interest rate cuts announced this week, taking the interest rate from its record high of 4.5% that has sustained for nearly five years according to @ecb

c. 20%

The percent of staff that reuse the same password for all work and personal logins according to @HCSBusinessSol

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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