InsightsNewsletterRenatus’ Weekly M&A Newsletter – 03/05/2020

Renatus’ Weekly M&A Newsletter – 03/05/2020

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Dear Reader,

You are receiving this mail every week as we see you as a key partner and we look forward to continuing to enjoy our journey with you over the decades ahead.

Please find below this week’s newsletter covering the latest M&A, company performance, fundraisings and executive moves.

M&A Activity

Stobart Group acquires stake in Stobart Air

Stobart

Deal Details: Stobart Group has agreed a deal with EY, the administrators of Connect Airways Limited, to acquire Stobart Air and Propius. Stobart Group is reported to have said it would pay up to £8.55m (€9.8m) for 75% economic interest and 40% voting interest in Stobart Air and Propius.

Propius is an aircraft leasing business that leases its eight ATR aircraft to Stobart Air. Stobart Air operates regional flights under a franchise agreement for Aer Lingus along with the provision of charter and wet lease operations. The businesses were owned previously by Stobart Group and were sold to Connect in February 2019.

The value of the combined gross assets of Stobart Air and Propius as at 31 August 2019 was £91.2m (€104m) and the combined profits before tax for the year ended 28 February 2019 were £5.5m (€6.27m).

Advisers: None mentioned

Renatus Comment: The aviation industry has been particularly hurt by the COVID related travel restrictions. Few, if any, airlines will emerge unaffected and looking the same as they did before. Government bailouts, layoffs and restructuring will be commonplace in the industry in the short-term. The stronger airlines will make deep cuts and rely on their balance sheets to survive while the weaker airlines may well get through by life-saving government bailouts. Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary has an interesting take on this in the FT this week: “The weakest airlines going into the crisis – Luftansa, Air France, KLM, Alitalia – who were going to in normal circumstances have to restructure and retrench are now going to be enormously enriched with state aid doping. I think what we are facing now is that…they’ll be able to make life very difficult for the well-run airlines like ourselves, BA and easyJet.”

Source: Aviator Newsroom

ICON acquires Paris-based Medpass

ICON

Deal Details: ICON, Dublin-based provider of drug and device development and commercialisation services to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device industries last week announced its acquisition of Paris-based MedPass, a European leader in medical device contract research organisation.

The deal, which completed in late January and was announced last week in a company filing, is reported to be worth $47m (€42.8m).

Advisers: None mentioned

Renatus Comment: Founded in 1990 by Dr. Ronan Lambe and Dr. John Climax, ICON plc is listed on the NASDAQ Exchange and is a true global success story. As of December 2019, the company had 14,400 employees in 98 locations spread across 40 countries. It has grown steadily since its early days, with a strong focus on value-adding bolt-on acquisitions as a way to bring in new expertise and broaden the companies offering. Counting from its website, the company has made 29 acquisitions over the last 30 years, averaging almost one acquisition per year.

Source: Icon Press Release, Sunday Independent

Uniphar acquires Irish medtech firm Innerstrength

Uniphar

Deal Details: Quoted pharmaceutical and healthcare services group Uniphar has acquired Innerstrength, a medtech firm which develops technology that enables healthcare professionals to deliver personalised education to patients living with chronic conditions.

Deal is reported to be for up to €8m with an element of deferred contingent consideration.

Advisers: None mentioned.

Renatus Comment: Innerstength was founded in 2013 by Greg Balmer and Avril Copeland, former Irish international hockey player and daughter of tailor Louis Copeland. In 2018, the business raised  €500k from Enterprise Ireland, VC firm Wayra and private investors. Copeland and Balmer still held 80% of the shares between them.

Source: The Sunday Times

Philip Lee and McEvoy Corporate Law merge

Deal Details: Irish law firms Philip Lee and McEvoy Corporate Law are to merge. The combined practice, to be named Philip Lee, will have 35 partners, more than 60 lawyers and offices in Dublin, London, Brussels and San Francisco.

Advisers: None mentioned.

Renatus Comment: Both Philip Lee and McEvoy are leading Irish practices, both full service, but with their own niches. Both Managing Partners Philip Lee and Bernard McEvoy practiced together in the 90s. This merger sees their journey’s come full circle. The merger will likely push the combined group to near the top-10 in Ireland and create a force in the Irish corporate law market.

Source: The Sunday Times

Deal Updates & Other News

CarTrawler seeking to raise €100m in equity funding

Dundrum-based e-commerce business CarTrawler is reported to be in advanced talks to raise €100m in equity funding. The global aggregator of car hire deals is significantly impacted by the current global travel restrictions and is seeking new funding to help stabilise the business. It is also reported that current VC owners BC Partners and Insight Partners, who acquired the business for €450m in 2014, are also looking for an exit as part of the upcoming transaction.

Source: The Sunday Times

Flutter & Stars deal expected to complete early

Paddy Power owner Flutter Entertainment expects its acquisition of Canada’s Stars group to complete next Monday. The company has received all regulatory approvals for the deal, which creates the world’s largest online gambling group, worth about €12bn.

The enlarged group will move to four segments, after initial five segments. That will involve merging the current Stars Group international operations with PPB. Later, Paddy Power will move into a new UK & Ireland division along with Sky Betting and Gaming.

Source: Independent

Executive and Board Appointments

We in Renatus believe that more important than the deals are the people and we have teamed up with leaders in this field Korn Ferry to provide you with details of key recent executive and board level appointments.

Baker Tilly appoints new Corporate Finance Partner

Former Renatus Director Greg Hogan has been appointed as Corporate Finance Partner at Baker Tilly.  Mr Hogan is a Chartered Accountant and has over 20 years’ experience in corporate finance working on behalf of Grant Thornton, Deloitte, International Development Ireland Ltd and Renatus. All the team in Renatus wish Greg the very best with Baker Tilly.

Double appointment at Arthur Cox

Two new associates have joined Arthur Cox’s litigation and dispute resolution team in Belfast.  Kristina Cunningham joins the firm from JMK Solicitors, a high-profile personal injury practice, while Tomás Corrigan has joined the Belfast team from the firm’s Dublin office. Ms Cunningham graduated from Queen’s University Belfast in 2012 and has extensive experience as a litigation lawyer.  Mr Corrigan has experience across a wide spectrum of legal disciplines and will focus on the construction sector.

Shannon Chamber elects new President

Lawyer Stephen Keogh has been elected president of Shannon Chamber.  Mr Keogh, a commercial lawyer, spent five years with international law firm Eversheds Sutherland before returning to the Mid-West region in 2009.  He is now managing partner of Sellors LLP, with offices in Limerick and Dublin, and sits on numerous boards and committees across a variety of business sectors.

The Marketing Institute appoints interim CEO

David Field has recently been appointed as interim CEO at the Marketing Institute.  Mr Field has been working as an eCommerce consultant for the past two years having previously served as Commercial Trading Director at Eason.  He previously held executive roles at Brown Thomas, Glanbia and Superquinn.

Irish Banking Culture Board appoints new CEO

Marion Kelly has been appointed as CEO of the Irish Banking Culture Board, having been acting chief executive since the IBCB was established in mid-2019. She previously spent over 13 years in senior roles in Bank of Ireland. She has also worked for PWC in Dublin, as well as the European Savings Banks Group and the European Commission.

Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission appoints new Commissioner

Sinéad Gibney was recently named as Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, after Government approval of an open competition. She replaces Emily Logan, who is stepping down. Ms Gibney previously served as inaugural director of IHREC from October 2014 to December 2016. She has previous experience in the fields of equality, human rights, corporate social responsibility, digital inclusion and e-learning, as well as board experience in the NGO sector. Her notable previous roles include managing director of Assume Nothing Media, director of IHREC, plus several roles with Google including heading its social action division.

Sodexo UK&I appoints new CEO

Julie Ennis has been appointed CEO for Sodexo’s corporate services business in UK & Ireland. She will also continue in her present role as country president for Ireland. The appointment follows the expansion of current CEO David Bailey’s role to oversee Sodexo’s corporate services business in North America. Ms Ennis joined Sodexo in February 2019 as managing director for Sodexo’s corporate services business in Ireland. She assumed the role of country president from Margot Slattery in September 2019. Ms Ennis previously held senior roles with Bank of Ireland.

Truepos Payment Solutions appoints new CEO

Truepos Payment Solutions has appointed Paul Lucey as its CEO. Mr Lucey previously served as Managing Director at Premier Utilities for almost 10 years.  He has substantial experience in payment systems and merchant services.

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.

M. McGuire Haulage
M. McGuire Haulage figs

Based in Kilkenny, M. McGuire Haulage Limited is a leading haulage and excavation business in Ireland providing services such as bulk excavation, demolition, site clearance and transportation. In FY19, the company saw a significant rise in revenue of 44.4% to c. €35.5m while EBITDA also jumped an impressive 89.4% to c. €9.2m. The jump in EBITDA was largely due to well managed cost of sales resulting in a 6.2% increase to gross margins. The company employed an average of 175 employees in FY19 at a cost of c. €9.4m. There was a c. €1.1m cash increase during the year after working capital movements removed c. €1.5m of cash with the company also paying a €450k tax bill. The company also spent c. €3.3m on Capex, received c. €670k from the sale of fixed assets, and paid c. €3.4m on the capital element of finance lease contracts. Cash on the balance sheet stood at c. €1.6m against a debt balance of c. €5.0m. Net assets increased by 54.6% to c. €16.5m. The company is 100% owned by Martin McGuire.

Daltons
Daltons figs

Glenstock Services Ltd which trades as John Daltons & Sons Ltd is a leading grain and agricultural merchant based in Kilkenny. For over 150 years the Dalton family has been providing quality products for the local farming communities. In its most recent financial year to March 2019, turnover increased by 28.7% to c. €16.4m while EBITDA decreased by 26.4% to c. €825k. EBITDA decreased as a result of gross margin moving to 10.3% from 13.2% in 2018 and administrative expenses increasing by c. €160k. Despite this, EBITDA converted to a net cash increase of c. €45k to leave an ending cash balance of c. €364k. The most significant draws on cash were €185k spent on hire purchase contracts and €325k spent on property, machinery and fittings. The business today is currently stewarded and wholly owned by John Dalton.

AJ Power
AJ Power figs

Based in Craigavon, Northern Ireland, AJ Power specialise in the manufacture and design of diesel generating sets. Founded in 2003, the companies products are sold worldwide through a network of distributors into end markets including data centres, healthcare, utilities and construction. Despite a 18.9% reduction in turnover to c. £28.8m, EBITDA rose by 26.3% to c. £2.1m during the year. The EBITDA growth can be traced to a 1.5 percentage point increase in gross margins to c. 22% coupled with a c. £1.3m decline in administrative expenses. AJ Power employs 116 staff at an annual cost of c. £4.2m per annum, the majority of which are production staff. The company commenced construction of a metal fabrication facility in August of 2017 which is reflected in the c. £4.7m CapEx it has spent over the last two years. This CapEx looks to have been funded through c. £4.7m in newly secured loans over the same period. At the period end, the company had c. £4.2m in debt on the balance sheet and the cost of servicing this was c. £1.1m.  Ashley John Pigott is the managing director and majority shareholder of the company.

Fundraisings

Who: MicroGen Biotech, a Carlow-based cleantech company, has raised funding.

What: $3.8m (€3.46m) funding round was led by agtech investor Fulcrum Global Capital with participation from existing investors The Yield Lab Europe and SVG Ventures.
MicroGen Biotech was advised by Eoghan Doyle & the team at Philip Lee.

Why: The new funding will be used to help scale-up its business in China, strengthen its team, and expand its production while investing in product development.

Source: MicroGen Biotech

Who: Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) announced new lower cost funding for Irish SMEs.

What: The new €17.5m facility for hire purchase/leasing for equipment, machinery and vehicles is available through SME Finance & Leasing Solutions DAC. The company will use lower cost SBCI funding to offer finance from €1,000 to €70,000 across the micro-SME market.

Why: The purpose of the lower costing funding is to give SMEs and micro-SMEs, access to a broader range of credit supports as they recover from the Covid-19 crisis. SME Finance and Leasing Solutions DAC was advised by Niall Flood & Andrew McKenzie KPMG and Paraic O’Kennedy of ByrneWallace on the legal side.

Source: SME Finance and Leasing Solutions DAC

Who: Northern Ireland contract research company Fusion Antibodies announces share placing.

What: The company seeks to raise £3m (€3.42m) by selling 3.3m shares at £0.9 (€1.03) each. Demand for the shares came from both existing shareholders and new investors, with the placing oversubscribed.

Why: The funds will be used for its Covid-19 work and it will also support its existing work in oncology and be used for general working capital.

Source: Irish Times

Who: Online grocery delivery service Buymie has raised funds.

What: €2.2m comes from Sure Valley Ventures, ACT Venture Capital and, from Buymie’s chairman, Eamonn Quinn. Long-term investor in the firm Haatch Ventures also participated, as did BVP Investments and Enterprise Ireland. LK Shields team, led by Emmet Scully and assisted by Lester Sosa-Villatoro advised Sure Valley Ventures on its investment.

Why: The new funding will support Buymie in its target to increase revenues by 500% by the end of the year on last year’s figure.

Source: Irish Times

Who: Podcast app Limor, founded by Shane Monaghan, nears completion of its seed funding round.

What: €250,000 seed funding, once completed, will bring the total funds raised to nearly €1m. Limor recently secured a partnership with digital agency Square One, which took an equity stake and will help to build the product for the launch.

Why: The cash will help Limor fund the marketing and maintaining of the business.

Source: Independent

Who: Irish campsite booking platform Campsited, founded by Finán O’Donoghue and James Gormley, has raised funding.

What: €650,000 comes from private investors bringing the total investment in the company up to €2.7m. The firm has plans to raise a further €750,000 to €1m in funding later this year.

Why: The cash will be used to grow the business by doubling the number of full-time staff to 10 people and also for marketing.

Source: Business Post

Who: Men’s retailer Savile Row has secured funding.

What: The loan comes through Danske Bank’s participation in the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

Why: The emergency loan will help the company survive the lockdown and reopen later in the year.

Source: Belfast Telegraph

Who: DMG Media Ireland, the publisher of the Irish Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday, is to provide an advertising support package.

What: €1m support fund will be made available to 200 SMEs which will be given a tailored advertising package worth €5,000 each.

Why: The package is to help small businesses succeed once the restrictions are lifted. The fund will be open to SMEs on a first come, first served basis, subject to certain criteria. SMEs that wish to apply for the advertising fund can do so via www.dmgmedia.ie/shopireland.

Source: Irish Times

Who: Google Ireland to grant funding to Irish charities and community organisations through Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org

What: €1m will be shared in two €500,000 tranches. Six charities and local development organisations – FoodCloud, Alone, Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, A Lust for Life, Ringsend Community Services Forum and South Dublin Community Partnership – will initially share €500,000, though not equally. A second €500,000 tranche will be donated to NGOs focused on supporting job seekers and SMEs across Ireland in finding opportunity and rebuilding livelihoods.

Why: The money is to help them deal with issues arising from the pandemic.

Source: Independent

Who: TriviumVet is a Waterford-based company that researches and develops treatments for chronic diseases in pets. Co-founded by Louise Grubb and Tom Brennan.

What: The business has recently raised €5.16m from private investors. This follows a €3.24m fundraise in 2018.

Why: Use of funds not specifically mentioned. Expected to fund continued development of the business.

Source: The Sunday Times

Who: MoShoppa, an e-commecre services company co-founded by former Irish international soccer player Niall Quinn, his daughter Aisling and Mike English. The company, founded in 2017, provides a turnkey e-commerce platform that helps entrepreneurs launch and scale their online business with instant inventory access to billions of ready-to-sell top branded products.

What: The company has raised investment of a reported €4.5m from investors including Voxpro’s Dan Kiely. Focus Capital’s Alan Kelly provided corporate finance advice to the company.

Why: Use of funds not specifically mentioned, however, the company is focusing on growing its presence in the US market and funding is expected to be used to continue to develop the business.

Source: Sunday Independent

Thought for the Week

We put up a post during the week which was just a bit of thinking out loud as we looked at what happened in the Irish markets before we logged off for the day.  Surprisingly, the post really caught fire on linkedIn with 250k views:

‘As of Wednesday night here 29th April

AIB up 20% …IN ONE DAY

Ryanair and BOI up 10% ….IN ONE DAY

Dalata up 9%….IN ONE DAY

NO news story on RTE business or RTE web or no mention on 9 O’Clock news. Surely it is a massive news story where either

1. The market is mad?, or
2. The market is liking what it is learning on a way out for business and travel?

Let’s hope it’s the latter.‘

The shares did come back a bit but still looking at the markets in totality the S&P is only down 13% for the year, the ISEQ is down 28%, but none of these tally with the feeling on Main Street.

The below from Lex in FT feels like a good summary even if a bit pessimistic:

‘The bullish investors who have been piling into the stock market should focus less on when the US economy will reopen. The real question is when consumer demand will recover to pre-pandemic levels — and how exposed it is to a second wave of infections. On nearly every measure — from unemploymentGDP and oil prices — the prognosis is grim. The current rally in stocks, like some of the president’s medical prognostications, is only tenuously connected to reality.’

@RenatusCapital Tweets

34.3

The Bank of Ireland Economic Pulse Index for April 2020, the lowest reading in its history, down 36.1 on last month and a 57-point drop year-on-year. @RTEbusiness

€6.2bn

The amount generated by the motor tax revenues in Ireland in 2019, according to a new industry report. @IrishTimesBiz

36.0

The AIB Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for April 2020, down from 45.1 in March.
@thejournal_ie

25%-40%

The estimated year-on-year drop in new home completions for 2020 due to delays caused by coronavirus. In 2019 there were 21,241 new homes completed in Ireland, according to Knight Frank. @IrishTimesBiz

11.1% & 12.4%

The year-on-year decrease in Irish retail volume and value indices, respectively, for March 2020, according to @CSOIreland

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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