InsightsNewsletterRenatus’ Private Equity M&A Newsletter – 19/02/2024

Renatus’ Private Equity M&A Newsletter – 19/02/2024

Thought for the Week

We in Renatus feel so privileged that what we do for a living does not feel like ‘work’.

There is no doubt that family and where you come from are the most important things in life, but these are followed closely by the other communities and tribes you belong to. We had a busy week in the parish of SME Ireland this week.

With our own Real Deal event taking place this past Thursday, followed by the Mazars Irish Investor Awards on Friday night. We are lucky enough to mix with some of the best SMEs, entrepreneurs, executives and deal-makers on the island and beyond. It is an amazing community and we are privileged to be part of it.

The Real Deal 2024

We are very grateful to everyone who came along to support The Real Deal Conference in Goffs on Thursday. We hope you enjoyed the insights and networking. You can watch some of the day’s highlights here.

A huge thank you to the amazing Renatus and Fitzgerald Power teams, led by Adrian Stackpoole, for making the event such a success and to Matt Cooper for getting such amazing stories from the entrepreneurs.

It goes without saying that The Real Deal wouldn’t happen without the incredible business leaders who give freely of their time to share their experience with #SMEIreland.

It will be hard to top the TRD24 panel next year! Thanks again to Niall Molloy, Jarlath Dooley, Aisling Teillard, John Purdy, Sharon McCabe and David Maxwell for joining us in Goffs as well as so many of the speakers from past years.

There will be further insights from our panellists shared in The Currency over the coming weeks.

The Real Deal wouldn’t be possible without the unwavering support of our partners and sponsors. We were delighted to partner with Bank of Ireland, LK Shields, The Currency, The Panel, Davy and Interpath Advisory (Ireland).

Until next year.

Mazars Irish Investor Awards 2024

We were chuffed to receive the Portfolio Company Deal of the Year award at the inaugural Irish Investors Awards at the Mansion House, Dublin last Friday night. This is the brainchild of Mazars with a view to recognise and celebrate excellence in private equity, lending, and venture capital along with the network of professional service firms that support the ecosystem. Mazars did not enter any awards themselves in order to stay neutral.

The awards covered a broad range of investors and professional services, and the winners were:

  • Debt Funding Deal of the Year under €10m  – AIB Business Banking for Boann Distillery.
  • Debt Funding Deal of the Year over €10m – DunPort Capital Management – Funding of Schivo Medical.
  • International PE Investment in Irish Company Deal of the Year – Phoenix Equity Partners – Investment in Nostra.
  • Corporate Law Firm Team of the Year – The Maples Group.
  • Corporate Finance Advisory Firm of the Year (Sponsored by Dunport) – IBI Corporate Finance Ltd.
  • Environmental, Social and Governance Deal of the Year (Sponsored by Development Capital) – Beach Point Capital Ireland for Investment in My Solar.
  • Deal of the Year (Sub €2.5m) – Foresight Group investment in Hospital Services Ltd.
  • Deal of the Year (€2.5m – €10m)  – Development Capital investment in Wogan Build Centre.
  • Deal of the Year over €10m category – Inflexion investment in Village Vets.
  • Due Diligence Team of The Year category – EY.
  • Portfolio Deal of the Year – Renatus for the exit of Boojum.
  • Rising Star Under 30 – Aoife McAdam from BGF Ireland.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Michael Murphy.
  • Irish VC House of the Year – Act Venture Capital.
  • Irish Private Equity House of the Year – Erisbeg.

Well done to John Bowe and Mazars for promoting the initiative and executing it so well on the night.

M&A Activity

Roberts Nathan merges with MHA to form Baker Tilly Ireland

Deal Details: Roberts Nathan has merged with MHA to form Baker Tilly Ireland. The deal consideration was not disclosed.

Roberts Nathan, founded in 1997, is a full-service accountancy and business advisory firm. The company is led by managing partner Vivian E. Nathan with offices in both Cork and Dublin. Earlier this year, the company merged with Cork-based accountancy firm Russell & Co. The company does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

MHA is a UK-based accountancy firm specialising in audit, tax and business advisory. The company is led by managing partner and chairman Rakesh Shaunak. MHA is an independent member of Baker Tilly International and has over 20 offices located across England, Wales and Scotland. The company does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

Advisers:
Roberts Nathan:
Legal: BHSM along with ByrneWallace led by Ross Little and Ana Soptica.

MHA:
Legal: Flynn O’Driscoll.

Renatus Comment: In Q2 2024 we are continuing to see the consolidation trend within the professional services industry, with no indication of it slowing down. This rapid consolidation has transformed the competitive landscape of the accountancy sector, as individual firms gain larger market shares and benefit from resource optimisation.

This is the latest incarnation of Baker Tilly in Ireland following Azets’ acquisition of its last Irish business, led by CEO Neill Hughes, in 2023. It will be interesting to see what approach is taken with this newly combined entity in the coming years.

Source: The Irish Examiner

JPA Brenson Lawlor merge with DLT Accountants

Deal Details: JPA Brenson Lawlor has merged with DLT Accountants. Deal consideration was not disclosed.

JPA Brenson Lawlor is an Irish accountancy practice based in Dublin. The company is regarded as one of the top fifteen accountancy practices in Ireland. It is owned by Padraic Ferguson, Ian Lawlor, Thomas McDonald, Henry Kinch, Michael O’Leary and Jason Bradshaw. The business does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

DLT Accountants is a Dublin-based wealth management and accounting business. The company is led by managing partner John Delaney alongside audit and assurance partner, Anthony Locke. The business does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

Advisers: None mentioned.

Renatus Comment: This is another example of the professional services consolidation that continues to occur across the island of Ireland.

This deal differs somewhat from previous consolidation targets in the accounting space with DLT Accounting’s additional capabilities in wealth management and profitability services which have grown in demand in recent times due to increased cost pressures squeezing margins for SMEs.

Source: JPA Brenson Lawlor Press Release

MaintMaster acquires OEEsystems

Deal Details: MaintMaster has acquired OEEsystems. Deal consideration was not disclosed.

MaintMaster is a Swedish-based software company focused on computerised maintenance management systems (‘CMMS’). It was originally founded as Aretics in 2001. It is majority-owned by Stockholm-based software investor Monterro, which acquired the business in 2020. It does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

OEEsystems is a Tipperary-based provider of business performance management solutions. OEE stands for Overall Equipment Effectiveness. The business was led by CEO and founder Arthur Stone. It does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

Advisers:
MaintMaster:
Financial: Grant Thornton led by Ann Marie Costello, Nicola Gill and Mark Holst.
Tax: Grant Thornton led by Una Ryan and Clodagh Duggan.
Legal: Ogier led by Oisin McLoughlin, Chelsey Heaney, Hugo Mahony and Lisa Quigley.

OEEsystems:
Corporate Finance: Corum Group led by Brendan O’Brien.
Legal: Reilly & Co. Solicitors led by David Reilly.
Tax: Hughes Tax Advisory.

Renatus Comment: This deal will allow MaintMaster to offer a new solution focused on the operational side of manufacturing facilities to complement its existing maintenance-focused systems. It is a logical acquisition of a product in an adjacent field which enables the company to now offer customers monitoring and analysis of production lines. The company said that this deal will expand its presence in Ireland and the UK which it views as “strategically important” as it expands beyond the Nordics and DACH regions. OEEsystems has customers in 20 countries and its systems are used by high-value manufacturing clients in food, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, making it an attractive target.

Source: MaintMaster Press Release

Granite Digital acquires WONDR

Deal Details: Granite Digital has acquired WONDR. Deal consideration was not reported.

Granite Digital is a digital consulting agency founded in Cork. The company offers its services to blue chip clients with 8 offices worldwide and 130 employees. The company is owned by co-founders Seamus White, Rob Carpenter and Ger O’Shea as well as Conor Buckley (CEO), Alf Smiddy (Chairman), Seamus White, Cormac O’Neill and Gary Corcoran. The business does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

WONDR is a digital consulting agency with its headquarters in Dublin. The business was founded in 2014 by Managing Director Dermot O’Shea who will be joining Granite Digital as a business partner post-acquisition. The company does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

Advisers:
Granite Digital:
Legal: ReganWall led by Kieran Regan and Deirdre Potenz.

WONDR:
None mentioned.

Renatus Comment: Rapid digitisation of business marketing functions paired with increasing demand for personalised user experiences have been driving forces in the growth of these digital consultancies. Granite Digital is capitalising on this demand and the fragmented nature of the industry having made 4 acquisitions since 2022, most recently Armour in July 2023 and the digital division of New York-based LCM247 in June 2023. The acquisition of WONDR will increase its capacity, adding 140 digital specialists from the WONDR team along with the business’ blue chip clients.

Source: The Business Plus

Newport Brands acquires C&C’s soft drinks arm

Deal Details: Imbibe Drinks, trading as Newport Brands, has acquired C&C’s soft drinks arm as part of an MBO. Deal consideration was reported to be c. €1m – €2m.

Newport Brands was set up by former C&C Commercial Director Keith O’Haire. The company is also backed by Niall McGrath and Tom Gannon, founders of Fulfil Bars, who each own c. 14% of the company. The business does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

C&C Group plc is an Irish manufacturer, marketer and distributor of alcoholic drinks, particularly cider, as well as soft drinks. Well-known products include Magners Cider and Club Orange. It is publicly listed on the London Stock Exchange. In FY Feb’23 it reported turnover of c. £1.7bn which converted to EBITDA of c. £116m.

Advisers:
Newport Brands:
Corporate Finance: CKS Finance led by Conor Sheahan, Gavin Pitcher and Peter Ryan.
Legal:  Bohan Solicitors led by Paul Bohan.

C&C Group:
None mentioned.

Renatus Comment: Having run C&C’s soft drinks business for the past ten years, O’Haire is well-placed to understand the potential of the brands in question. He has said that he believes that the brands had been ‘underinvested for a period of time’. This has come as C&C has turned its strategic focus away from soft drinks towards its alcoholic drinks portfolio in recent times. O’Haire is targeting to double the portfolio’s current turnover of c. €14m in five years through a dual-pronged approach of investing in the existing brands and winning new distribution agreements.

Source: The Sunday Times

Eight Degrees Brewing Co acquired by its Founders

Eight Degrees Brewing Co

Deal Details: Eight Degrees Brewing Co has been bought back by the original founders, Scott Baigent and Cam Wallace, from Irish Distillers Limited. The deal consideration was not reported.

Eight Degrees Brewing Co is an alcoholic microbrewery based in Cork. The company was founded by Scott Baigent and Cam Wallace in 2010 and was later sold to Irish Distillers in 2018 for an undisclosed amount. Irish Distillers will continue to distribute Eight Degrees’ beers post-acquisition. The company does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

Irish Distillers, a subsidiary of Pernod Ricard, is a leading supplier of alcoholic beverages headquartered in Dublin, with further operations in Cork and Belfast. The company specialises in whiskey including Jameson. It does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

Advisers: ​​None Mentioned. ​​​​

Renatus Comment: Scott Baigent and Cam Wallace are returning to the business they founded, which has increased in scale over recent years. Irish Distillers has invested in the completion of Eight Degrees’ new brewery in Mitchelstown. The original rationale for Irish Distillers’ acquisition was to ensure a long-term beer supply to support the growth of Jameson’s Caskmates brand, with Irish Distillers having been unable to secure sufficient volumes through Franciscan Well and Molson Coors prior to 2018.

Source: Irish Examiner

Simon Brien Residential acquired by Sherry FitzGerald Group

sherry-fitzgerald-logo-vector

Deal Details: Simon Brien Residential has been acquired by Sherry FitzGerald Group. The deal consideration was not reported.

Simon Brien Residential is a Northern Ireland based estate agent. The company is majority owned by managing director Simon Brien. The business has four offices in Belfast and Co. Down with 35 staff across its offices. The business will continue trading under its own brand with the same management team in place. The company does not report revenue or EBITDA information.

Sherry FitzGerald Group is a property advisory firm based in Dublin. The firm was founded in 1982 and now employs over 650 people across 100 offices nationwide. It was acquired for a reported €50m by Tommy Kelly’s Castlegate Investments in 2022. The company does not report revenue of EBITDA information.

Advisers: None Mentioned

Renatus Comment: Sherry Fitzgerald’s acquisition of Simon Brien Residential marks the groups first strategic venture in the Northern Irish market. Last year the group sold 8,600 homes, with a capital value of €3.8 billion in the Irish residential market. This investment into Northern Ireland presents the group with a platform for further growth in this market. According to a BBC report, despite rising interest rates, there is robust growth in house prices in Northern Ireland. It reported that in the third quarter of 2023, prices were up 3.1% compared to the second quarter and were 2.1% higher than the same period last year.

Source: Belfast Telegraph

Deal Updates & Other News

First two investments made from ISIF’s €50m initiative to promote female-led investment firms

Deal Details: ISIF has made its first two investments from its €50m initiative to promote female-led investment firms. The two investments total €36m and will target the climate-tech and health-tech sectors.

A €15m commitment will be provided to a fund managed by Blume Equity which is led by Michelle Capiod, Eleanor Blagbrough, and Clare Murray. Blume recently appointed experienced finance and strategy leader Lucinda Woods as a Strategic Advisor.

Another €21m will go to Norrsken Venture Capital, a climate and health tech investor, led by Tove Larsson and Agate Freimane.

Source: RTE

Sysco Ireland cleared to acquire Ready Chef

Deal Details: Sysco Ireland, a leading food service provider based in Dublin, has been cleared to acquire Ready Chef by the CCPC. The acquisition was reported in our December 10th newsletter. Deal consideration has not been disclosed.

Sysco:
Financial: Deloitte led by Conor Cullen.
Tax: Deloitte led by Carmel Marnane.

Ready Chef:
Corporate Finance: Coombes Corporate Finance led by Frank Coombes.
Legal: Dillon Solicitors led by Brendan Dillon.
Tax: BCA Tax & Business Consultants led by Caroline McGrath

Source: 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.

Duggan Systems Ltd, is a Limerick-headquartered construction company which offers complete façade solutions for contractors and clients across several industries including the pharmaceutical, healthcare and commercial sectors. The company has operations in North America, with an office in Boston. Founded in 1978, the company is wholly owned by John Duggan.
​​​​​​
In its financial year to December 2023 the business generated a turnover of c. €24.2m, an increase of c. 18.4% year-on-year. This converted to an EBITDA of c. €2.2m, an increase of c. 85.3%. The increase in EBITDA was driven by revenue growth and gross margin improvements.

The business finished the year with a cash balance of c. €3.1m, a c. €0.2m increase on FY Dec’22. Significant post-EBITDA cash movements included payments of dividends and cash released from working capital.

The business employed an average of 129 people over the period at a total cost of c. €7.0m.

Fundraisings

Who: Numra is a Dublin-headquartered AI-driven financial automation platform.

What: The company has raised c. €1.5m in a funding round led by Elkstone.

Why: The company intends to use this funding to accelerate product development, increase its headcount and expand its operations into the US market.

Source: RTE

 

Who: SimpleStudy, a Cork-based exam preparation startup.

What: The business has raised €750k in a pre-seed funding round led by Des Traynor and Ciaran Lee, founders of Intercom.

Why: The funding will be used to accelerate the business’ growth plans as it targets the UK market.

Source: Business Post

Who: CitySwift, a tech-driven data analytics platform focused on the public transport network.

What: The company has raised €7m in funding led by Gresham House Ventures.

Advisors: CKS Finance led by Conor Sheahan.

Why: The funds will be used to double the workforce and scale the platform and its end-to-end client services.

Source: Irish Times

Who: EOS IT Solutions, a supplier of audio-visual and video-conferencing technology based in Down.

What: The company has secured $100m from HSBC UK supported by UK Export Finance (UKEF).

Why: The funding will be used to grow the business’ products and services internationally and expand its workforce. 

Source: Belfast Telegraph

Who: Catagen, which helps companies to decarbonise emissions.

What: The business has received £1m in funding from the Growth Finance Fund backed by the British Business Bank, Invest NI and private investors.

Why: The funding will be used to further develop its green technologies.

Source: Irish Times

Who: Cumulus Neuroscience, the developer of a wearable headset that measures cognitive fitness.

What: The business has raised £11.1m from undisclosed investors.

Why: The funding will be used to continue the development of the business’ product.

Source: Business Post

Executive and Board Appointments

We in Renatus believe that more important than the deals are the people and we are pleased to provide you with details of key recent executive and board-level appointments.

Dan Murphy

Source:
(Google Images & LinkedIn)

Chris Doyle

Source:
(Google Images & LinkedIn)

@RenatusCapital Tweets

7.3%

The rate of house price inflation in the 12 months to March this year, up from 6.2% the previous month, according to the @CSO

24%

The proportion of businesses that reported using over 10 systems and applications to store information, according to a survey by @Convergent

1.2%

The forecasted GDP growth rate for the Irish economy this year, according to the @EU_Commission

5.3%

The average price increase of health insurance plans by Irish Life Health, the third increase since last July, 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:

Flew the Nest:


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