InsightsUncategorizedRenatus’ Private Equity M&A Newsletter – 30/06/2024

Renatus’ Private Equity M&A Newsletter – 30/06/2024

Thought for the Week

A topic we have touched on before, but think is still neglected, is life after exit for an entrepreneur. Anastasia Koroleva, a serial entrepreneur with multiple exits, one of which was a $100m+ exit, found herself a little lost and has set up a really insightful podcast called ‘Exit Paradox’ for founders to listen to.

Significant monetisation events and the wealth that follows help to solve problems; however, people assume it makes life simpler, it doesn’t.

She touches on the difference between being a creator and an investor. The transition is not always successful or fulfilling and akin to sports stars moving into management, it should be thought through.

She has heard numerous hard-luck stories of people who go for the sugar rush of becoming an investor at a time when they often are struggling for purpose and identity post-exit.

She talks a lot about a US club called Tiger 21, where self-made entrepreneurs join to get a support group of fellow self-made high net worths. This advice ranges from what to do, how to keep hunger and humility in kids, to how best to give back.

It is an amazing series for any founder pre or post-exit and may even mould people’s decision on exiting, partially exiting etc.

The link to the ‘Exit Paradox’ podcast series is here.

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 Recruitment@renatus.ie ovisit our website at: https://go.renatus.ie/e/512701/2024-05-26/7frdws/1515406058/h/yBsyZr8Lt1lSOPgmuGd5C1_DzeGjRL_MUFFP8oToYP8careers/. 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

IVC Evidensia Ireland has acquired The Well Pet Hospital

Deal Details: IVC Evidensia Ireland has acquired The Well Pet Hospital. The deal is subject to CCPC approval and the consideration was not disclosed.

IVC Evidensia Ireland is part of the IVC Evidensia Group of companies. IVC Evidensia is a global provider of veterinary care and associated services. The Group operates a network of c. 2,600 clinics, hospitals and out-of-hours centres, across 20 countries worldwide. The Group is backed by EQT. It reportedly has revenues in excess of £2.8bn.

The Well Pet Hospital is a Sligo-based pet veterinary practice that offers a full range of medical and surgical services. The practice is wholly owned by Darren and Susie Carr. The company does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

Advisers: None mentioned

Renatus Comment:  The consolidation trend is well advanced in the UK veterinary market, with the six largest players (IVC Evidensia, Pets at Home, CVS Group, Medivet, Linnaeus and VetPartners) having acquired 30% of the UK’s vet practices since 2013. However, the UK Competition and Market Authority has launched an investigation into consolidation in the space, which reports that c. 60% of UK veterinary practices are owned by large companies. As a result, it is not surprising to see better-capitalised acquirers turning to the Irish market. The most notable moves into the Irish market have been by VetPartners, which has acquired 6 practices to date, along with Inflexion’s investment into Village Vets in late 2023, which looks to represent the first step in an Irish consolidation play.

Source: CCPC

Seating Matters acquires stake in Advanced Seating

Deal Details: Seating Matters has acquired a stake in Advanced Seating. Deal details were not disclosed.

Seating Matters is a global manufacturer of clinical, therapeutic seating, based in Derry. The business is owned by the Tierney family. It reported FY Dec’22 turnover of c. £8.3m, converting to an EBITDA of c. £2.1m.

Advanced Seating is a distributor of seating solutions to hospitals and care facilities, primarily across Munster and Connacht. It was founded by John Murphy. The business does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

Advisers:
Seating Matters:
Corporate Finance: CavanaghKelly led by Michael Drumm.
Legal: Caldwell & Robinson led by Philip Gilliland.

Advanced Seating:
Legal: Regan Wall led by Kieran Regan.
Deal Advisory: McCarthy & Company led by Gerard McCarthy.
Financial: GLT Business Consulting led by Ger Honohan.

Renatus Comment: Advanced Seating is a long-term distributor of Seating Matters’ products, with this investment now furthering the collaboration between the two companies. The investment will be used to enable Advanced Seating to scale its operations in line with that of Seating Matters. Seating Matters has previously outlined ambitious plans to grow beyond its existing core markets in the UK, Ireland, North America and Australia. With at least 50,000 new nursing homes required by 2051 to meet future demand, per Sherry FitzGerald, demand for therapeutic and clinical seating is only set to grow. This is representative of a global trend, boding well for both Seating Matters and Advanced Seating.

Source: Seating Matters Press Release

Energystore has acquired Advanced Traditional Screeding

Deal Details: Energystore has acquired Advanced Traditional Screeding (ATS). The deal details were not reported.

Energystore manufactures and installs insulation products for homeowners and commercial residences across the UK and Ireland. The Co. Down-based business is owned by the McCandless family and led by Connor McCandless. In FY Mar’23 the company reported an EBITDA of c. £1.9m.

ATS is a flooring solutions provider based in Scotland serving as a contractor to the construction industry for industrial, commercial and retail flooring. The business is majority-owned by Jason Lister. The business does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

Advisers: None mentioned

Renatus Comment: Demand for energy-efficient homes is set to continue rising over the coming years, with the retrofit of old homes and sustainability targets associated with new builds acting as a major tailwind. In the UK, the Future Homes Standard aims to ensure that new homes produce 75-80% less carbon emissions. In Ireland, the government is aiming for all buildings to be net zero emissions by 2050. As such, the consolidation of players which boast complementary offerings seems inevitable over the coming years to establish platforms of scale that can cater for this ever-growing demand.

Source: Energystore Press Release

Omega Crushing & Screening acquired by Propel Industries

Deal Details: Omega Crushing & Screening has been acquired by Propel Industries. The deal details were not reported.

Omega Crushing & Screening is a Tyrone-based manufacturer of mobile crushing and screening products. The business is owned by Anthony Carlin, Colin Daly, Shirley Daly and Robert Douglas. The company does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

Propel Industries manufactures crushing equipment used in the mining industry. The company is based in India with further offices in Asia and Africa. The business is led by Managing Director, Senthil Kumar Varadharajan and does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

Advisers: None mentioned

Renatus Comment: Northern Ireland’s crushing and screening market is recognised as one of the strongest in the world, manufacturing over 40% of the world’s tracked mobile crushing and screening equipment according to Invest Northern Ireland. This sustained and expected continued dominance can be attributed to over 60 years of innovation in the industry supported by Invest Northern Ireland, with a planned £100m investment into the ‘Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre’. These factors have seen many of the leading manufacturers in the space base their operations in Northern Ireland, including Edge Innovate, CDE Group, Powerscreen, Kiverco and EvoQuip.

Source: The Irish News

M&C Property acquires O'Connor Shannon Estate Agents

Deal Details: M&C Property has acquired O’Connor Shannon Estate Agents. The deal details were not reported.

M&C Property offers a range of property services such as sales, valuations, lettings along with commerical, residential and student property management. Established in 2009, the business is owned by Donogh Madigan, Patricia Cunningham and Diarmuid Madigan. The company does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

O’Connor Shannon Estate Agents is a boutique estate agency based in Dublin. The company was founded in 1995 and is owned by Coleman Connor and Mary Shannon. The business does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

Advisers: None mentioned.

Renatus Comment: This move will further M&C Property’s presence in the Dublin market, with O’Connor Shannon focusing on the Dublin residential and investment markets. It has a niche speciality in the pre-1963 multi-unit market. M&C Property has made previous moves to broaden its offering, having acquired Domain Property Management, AC Property Management and Winters Property Management (WPM). The company’s acquisition of WPM brought it into the student accommodation market, enabling it to become the largest independent operator of student accommodation in Ireland. 

Source: M&C Property Press Release

Rockwell Financial Management acquires Hogan Financial Brokerage

Deal Details: Rockwell Financial Management has acquired Hogan Financial Brokerage. The deal consideration was not disclosed.

Rockwell Financial Management is a Dublin based financial advisory and management firm. The firm, established in 2012, is owned by Gerard Kiernan and Robert and Helen Whelan. In FY Apr’23 the company reported turnover of c. €3.1m, converting to an EBITDA of c. €331k. 

Hogan Financial Brokerage is a Dublin-based firm that offers a broad range of financial services. The company was owned by John Hogan. The company does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

Advisers: None mentioned

Renatus Comment: The trend of consolidation in the financial advisory space is well-established. Rockwell’s acquisition of Hogan Financial Brokerage marks its fourth acquisition, with intentions to pursue further acquisitions in the near term. Other recent activity has included SYS Group’s acquisition of Global Life & Finance in May, along with Fairstone Ireland’s strategic partnership with Cleere Life & Pensions in April.

Source: RTE

KnightBridge acquires a stake in Freshly Chopped

Deal Details: KnightBridge has acquired a stake in Freshly Chopped. The deal consideration was not reported.

Freshly Chopped is a healthy fast-food chain founded in 2012 with over 60 sites across Ireland, the UK, Cyprus and the Netherlands. The business entered the Small Companies Administrative Rescue Process (SCARP) earlier this year. Co-founder, Brian Lee, will move to an advisory role post-acquisition. Kent Lim, co-founder of KnightBridge will become the new CEO of Freshly Chopped, having previously worked there in a leadership role and as an investor since 2018. The company does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

KnightBridge is a private equity firm with offices in Dublin & London.

Advisers
Freshly Chopped:
None mentioned.

KnightBridge:
Deal Advisory: Interpath Advisory led by Mark Degnan.
Legal: MWM led by Conor Mullany and Conor Mullins.

Renatus Comment: In the Sunday Times, John Conroy highlighted that restaurant chains, due to their low-margin nature, have been particularly exposed to external shocks such as raw material price rises and the cost of living crisis. This is leading to challenging situations for several chains. In the case of Freshly Chopped, the SCARP will have allowed it to exit some unprofitable stores, leaving it better placed to recover from these challenges.

The SCARP was officially implemented at the end of 2021 as a new tool for smaller businesses facing temporary insolvency, offering an affordable restructuring option through writing down debt and gaining new investment without the requirement to go to court, unlike the examinership process. Since the inception of the SCARP, there have been c. 60 processes undertaken, with a success rate of 73%. However, despite 98% of Irish companies qualifying for this process, only 5 SCARP appointments have been made in Q1 2024. Deloitte is forecasting c. 800 insolvencies in 2024 and emphasises the need to highlight the SCARP as an early resolution to potential insolvency proceedings.

Source: Business Plus

Conjura acquires Optily

Deal Details: Conjura has acquired Optily. The deal consideration was not reported.

Conjura is a Dublin-based eCommerce data analytics business with a specialism in SKU optimisation. The business is led by co-founder and CEO, Fran Quilty. Conjura’s investors include Act Venture Capital and Middlegame Ventures. The business does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

Optily offers advertising optimisation solutions tailored to Shopify app store. The company is based in Texas, USA and led by CEO, Brendan Hughes. The business does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

Advisers:

Conjura: 

Legal: ReganWall

Optily:
Legal: Maples
 
Renatus Comment: This deal should provide immediate synergies for Conjura, with Optily’s advertising optimisation solution for Shopify merchants broadening Conjura’s eCommerce analytics platform. Optily’s focus on Shopify merchants is especially appealing when considering that 675 million people bought from a Shopify store in 2023, up c. 48% since 2020. Conjura has highlighted that the fragmented nature of the market, whereby numerous partial business insights solutions exist, means the sector may see further consolidation in the years to come.

Source: Conjura Press Release

Guardian Management Accounting acquired by ETL

Deal Details: Guardian Management Accounting has been acquired by ETL. The deal value was not reported.

Guardian Management Accounting offers outsourced accountancy services to SMEs across Dublin. The Dublin-based company is led by Managing Director, Colum Whelan. The business does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

ETL is a German-based professional services business. Its Irish business is led by Anthony Casey who was appointed after Noone Casey was acquired by the Group back in April 2023. The business does not report turnover or EBITDA information.

Advisers:
Guardian Management Accounting:
Corporate Finance: Connext Partners led by Conor Grimes.

ETL:
None mentioned.

Renatus Comment: This is the third acquisition that ETL has completed in Ireland following DMB Chartered Accountants and Noone Casey, both of which occurred in 2023. ETL’s M&A strategy differs from the norm in that the acquired businesses continue to operate independently post-acquisition, with only the operational services such as HR, marketing and IT functions being shared within the Group. ETL’s continued consolidation strategy mirrors trends in the wider market.

Source: Business Post

Deal Updates & Other News

Keywords Studios receives renewed takeover proposal from EQT

Deal Details: Keywords Studios, based in Sandyford, has received a new takeover proposal from EQT. The deal value is reported at £1.96bn (€2.32bn), valuing the company at £24.50 (€28.94) per share. This value is lower than the initial proposal in May of £25.50.

EQT has until 3rd July 2024 to present a formal offer.

Source: The Irish Examiner

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.

Gem Pack Foods Ltd, established in 1967, is a Dublin headquartered producer and supplier of a wide range of food products. The company provides a variety of baking ingredients, herbs, spices, and dried fruits. The company is led by CEO Charlie Lyons. It is owned by the Lyons family, Robert Mulligan and Joemar Ibasan.

In its financial year to December 2023 the business generated a turnover of c. €69.0m, an increase of c. 24.6% year-on-year. This converted to an EBITDA of c. €3.7m, an increase of c. 47.5%. The increase in EBITDA was driven by revenue growth and gross margin improvements.

The business finished the year with a cash balance of c. €63k, a c. €115k increase on FY Dec’22. Significant post-EBITDA cash movements included investment in working capital and debt repayments.

The business employed an average of 112 people over the period at a total cost of c. €5.6m.

Fundraisings

Who: Better Futures, is a Dublin-headquartered, early-stage artificial intelligence (AI) company providing assistance for engineers.

What: The company has secured pre-seed funding of €500k from angel investors.

Why: The pre-seed funding will help the company expand in its inital markets which include Ireland, the UK and Germany while also accelerating the rollout of its AI platform, Engineering Virtual Assistant (EVA).

Source: Business Plus

Who: Irish Institute of Music and Song (IIMS), a provider of musical education and experiences to private and enterprise consumers.

What: The company has raised €4m in funding led by Belfast Commercial Funding, a non-bank lender.

Why: The funding will be used to complete the construction of its new campus based in Balbriggan, Dublin.

Source: Business Plus

Who: Office of Public Works (OPW), an Irish government agency managing most of the State’s property.

What: The agency has received €11.2m through Fáilte Ireland’s Regenerative Tourism and Placemaking Scheme, funded by the EU and Irish Government.

Why: The funds will be used to develop the following four sites; Clonmacnoise, Corlea Trackway, Emo Court and Roscrea Castle.

Source: Business Plus

Who: Lynq, an AI-driven workspace management start-up founded by Paul Sheridan and Fred Brown.

What: The company has received $2m in pre-seed funding led by Nebular and Pebblebed.

Why: The investment will be used to grow the business having just launched a beta version of the platform.

Source: Business Post

Who: Digital Iron, a Belfast-based company that has designed a platform that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to help dealers quickly diagnose problems with heavy machinery.

What: The company has raised $2m. Investors include Seedcamp, Concept Ventures, RTP Global and FJ Labs.

Why: The investment will be used to help drive expansion.

Source: Business Post

Executive and Board Appointments

 Stuart McCarron

Source:
(Google Images & LinkedIn)

James Whitebread

Source:
(Google Images & LinkedIn)

@RenatusCapital Tweets

6.7%

The year-on-year increase in the asking price for Irish homes in Q2 2024 @TheIrishTimes

22%

The increase in wholesale energy prices in May compared to April @CSO

51%

The increase in the number of new homes commenced in March 2024 compared to March 2023 @PropertyIndustryIreland

€1.1bn

The rise in Irish household savings in May when compared to April @ECB

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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