Please find below this week’s newsletter covering the latest M&A, company performance, fundraisings and executive moves.
Luck of the Irish.
Eight months into this year’s budget we are running a €6.3bn surplus in exchequer receipts over payments. This is compared to a €7.7bn deficit this time last year. Every day it’s like Paschal is finding cash in his pocket he didn’t know he had. This gives Ireland a very substantial buffer to deal with public sector pay claims, providing cost of living supports to the electorate and businesses as well as potentially lowering income tax rates and funding a broader giveaway budget.
In the next budget with what is hopefully, a war and consequently energy-driven cyclical spike in prices. Let’s hope we don’t look back in a few years and rue that our corporation receipts were exceptional and energy increases less so.
However, bad and worrying it is here at least we have the surplus to play with. across the water, Liz Truss’ proposed measures to counter the current pain on business and individuals is reportedly going to cost £60bn over the coming years pushing the UK into dangerous deficit territory.
Deal Details: Kerry Group has acquired a US-based powdered cheese business from Kraft Heinz, in a deal worth a reported €107.5m. The deal is expected to close in the coming months.
Kerry Group is a taste and nutrition partner for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical markets, with a broad range of solutions that reaches over 1bn consumers around the world. The Group was founded in 1972 as a co-op and was led by Denis Brosnan until 2003. Kerry is now led by Edmond Scanlon. This is the business’ fourth acquisition of the year having already acquired e-LEcta, Almer and Natreon. In FY21, the business had a turnover of c. €7.4bn which converted to an EBITDA of c. €1.2bn.
Kraft Heinz is a US consumer foods conglomerate that was formed following a merger between Kraft Foods and Heinz in 2015. The B2B powdered cheese business operates a manufacturing facility in Minnesota, which employs 62 people. Kraft Heinz PLC is led by Miguel Patricio and is headquartered in Chicago. In FY21, the business had a turnover of c. $26.0bn, which converted to an EBITDA of c. $6.4bn.
Advisers: None mentioned.
Renatus Comment: It has been an eventful week for two of Ireland’s largest agribusinesses. For Kerry Group, this acquisition is another step towards strengthening its position in North America having recently acquired Naetron, Enmex, and Niacet. Kerry is focused on building a global taste & nutrition business and its strategy appears to be paying dividends, with the Kerry’s Taste & Nutrition arm seeing 27.5% revenue growth in H1 2022.
Meanwhile Glanbia Ireland, Ireland’s largest dairy processor, recently went through a rebrand becoming Tirlán. This comes on the back of its co-op acquiring 100% of Glanbia Ireland, the dairy & grain business of Glanbia PLC in late 2021.
The separation of Glanbia PLC and Glanbia Ireland came as Glanbia PLC looked to focus on nutrition, which is similar to what’s happening in Kerry Group. Kerry is now the only Irish dairy processor that is not a wholly owned farmer co-op and it will be interesting to see how this develops over time.
Source: Kerry Group Press Release
Deal Details: Briggs Equipment has acquired Galway Plant and Tool Hire (GPT). The deal consideration was not disclosed.
Founded in 1969, GPT offers a wide range of plant, equipment, and vehicles for long and short-term hire. The business is majority owned by the Hughes family (James, Tanya, Andrea, Barbara, Martin, David, and Maureen) as well as Yvonne Hacket. The business reported an FY21 turnover of c. €18.0m which converted to an Operating Profit of c. €2.9m, all of which was generated from the ROI. The business is based in Galway and employed an average of 79 staff in FY21.
Briggs Equipment, with sites in Dublin and Lisburn, is the exclusive Irish distributor for the Hyster range of forklift trucks and other materials handling equipment. Briggs Equipment Ireland is the Irish arm of the Texas-based materials handling solutions company, Briggs International. Briggs Equipment Ireland reported an FY20 turnover of c. €8.5m while Briggs International reportedly had revenues in excess of $4.0bn in FY20.
Corporate Finance: IBI Corporate Finance led by Raymond Donegan and Sarah Grouse.
Legal: Beauchamps led by Shaun O’Shea, Emily Harrington, and Gergana Moran.
Due Diligence: KPMG UK.
Legal: Pinsent Mason led by Sarah Hope, and Oisin McLoughlin.
Renatus Comment: Briggs has been an active acquirer in the Irish market over recent months having acquired Dublin-Based Balloo Hire Limited in April of last year as well as Laois Hire Services. This however appears to be Briggs’ largest Irish acquisition by far with Laois Hire generating c. €6.0m in revenue and Balloo generating c. €455k in revenue at the time of their respective transactions. This transaction reiterates Briggs’ commitment to strengthen its position in the Irish market and looks set to more than triple the business’ Irish revenue.
The Hughes family has built an outstanding business with Operating profit increasing from just over €0.6m in 2014 to almost €3.0m in 2021.
Source: Briggs Equipment Press Release
Deal Details: Irish-based Reward Catering Limited has been acquired by Teqnion, in a deal reported to be worth c. €13m.
Rewards Catering Ltd is a global food truck and trailer specialist that designs and manufactures food trucks for European and American markets, with its main customer base in Ireland and the UK. The business was founded by Kevin, Thomas, and John Ward in 2018, who along with Anne Ward owned the business. Kevin ward will remain as CEO following the acquisition. It is headquartered in Bray, Co. Wicklow.
Teqnion is a publicly traded, Swedish-based industrial trading group. It was founded in 2006 and is led by the chief executive and co-founder Johan Steene. This is Teqnion’s second acquisition outside of Sweden and its first in Ireland. In FY22 the business had a turnover of c. €113.2m, which converted to an EBITDA of c. €13.0m.
Redeye AB was listed as a certified advisor to Teqnion.
Renatus Comment: During the Covid pandemic, there was a boom in alternatives to the traditional sit-down restaurant experience with food trucks and other mobile catering models exploding in popularity when restaurants were forced to shut their doors.
Rewards Catering was likely a beneficiary of this trend with its products centred around mobile catering, offering products such as food trucks, catering pods, and rental catering equipment. While this mobile dining trend appears to be contracting after the initial COVID boom it does appear to be here to stay. Just last week Cork City ran a new outdoor festival focused on showcasing the county’s food and drink while Dublin City Council recently announced a new outdoor food market on Moore street.
Source: Teqnion Press Release
Deal Details: Aurivo had acquired Arrabawn’s liquid milk sales book. The deal is subject to due diligence and approval by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC). Deal details have not bee disclosed.
Arrabawn Dairies is the ‘fresh-milk’ division of Arrabawn co-op, an Agri-based organisation. The division is located in Kilconnell near Ballinasloe, Co. Galway. However, this site is not part of the sale and the processor is currently looking for options for alternative use. The Arrabawn Co-op was founded in 2001 following the merger of Nenagh Co-Op and Mid-West Farmer’s Co-op. The co-op has over 1,000 shareholder farmers and reported a turnover of over €270.0m in 2020, converting to an EBITDA of c. €10.4m.
Aurivo is a multi-purpose co-operative that offers a wide range from dairy ingredients, consumer foods, health & nutrition, retail and lifestyle stores, animal nutrition and livestock marts. It was founded in 1972 and is headquartered in Sligo. Donal Tierney has led the business as CEO since 2020. The business reported an FY21 turnover of c. €570.3m and an EBITDA if c. €19.4m.
Advisers: None mentioned.
Renatus Comment: Irish milk production has grown alongside the growth in the national herd of dairy cows, which increased annually by c. 2.3% to 1.6m as of June 2021. During this same period, Irish dairy has grown to be Ireland’s largest food and drink export category recording exports of c. €5.1bn in 2021.
As of August 2022, co-ops were offering upwards of €0.57/litre for milk, more than double the €0.2500-€0.2790/litre prices offered in October 2015. At the same time, Irish retail prices appear to be around €1.05/litre with Supervalu, Aldi, Tesco, and Dunnes all offering this price, up from €0.86/litre in 2015, a 22% increase. There is an excellent article recently published in the FT on this topic: Link
Further future growth in production is likely to be capped with the Irish Government’s Climate Action Plan committing to halving carbon emissions by 2030 and agriculture accounting for c. 37% of the country’s carbon emissions based on the quantification of what is produced and not consumed in the country.
Source: Irish Independent, Capital IQ
Deal Details: Dixon International Logistics has acquired Carna Transport. Deal details have not been disclosed.
Dixon International Logistics is a national and international haulage company that specialises in temperature-controlled logistics. It has been backed by Erisbeg, an Irish growth capital investor, since December 2021. The business was founded in 1998 by Michael Dixon, who still owns the business alongside Eileen Dixon and Erisbeg. It is headquartered on St. Margaret’s Road beside Dublin Airport following a move from its original Co. Meath base and another facility in Swords. In FY21, the company had turnover of c. €36.3m and an Operating Profit of c. €5.2m.
Carna Transport is a transport company that specialises in the movement of goods to and from Ireland, the UK and Europe. The business was founded by Barry Hughes in 1963 who owned the business. It is headquartered in Monaghan and also has operations in Armagh. It will continue to operate independently and retain its current staff following the acquisition. The business did not report turnover.
Legal: Bryan Sweeney, Colm Shalvey, Joseph R Sweeney and Eileen Kelly of J R Sweeney LLP supported by Mills Selig (Northern Ireland).
Finance/Tax: Billy Sweetman and Brendan French of PwC.
Deal Advisory: Erisbeg led by Thomas Davy, including Robert Burns, Charlotte Palumbo and Daniel Chirokov.
Legal Counsel: Paddy Spicer, Michael Sinnott, Ciara Doris, Joanna Crowley, Nina Carroll, Evelyn Soye and Simon Shinkwin of Matheson supported by Cleaver Fulton Rankin (Northern Ireland).
Renatus Comment: The acquisition of Carna will see Dixon expand its vehicle fleet of c. 200 vehicles along with trailers, with Carna’s 160-vehicle fleet. This will go some way to enabling Dixon to cater for the ever-increasing demand in the temperature-controlled logistics space. There is a shortage of cold storage capacity coming out of the Covid-era, with a change in consumer preferences representing a key driving factor. Online groceries, meal-subscription services and a consumer preference for fresh, perishable goods are all contributing to this excess demand. Given the cost to retailers of retrofitting their own vehicles, the service provided by cold-storage logistics providers such as Dixon has become increasingly important.
Source: Dixon International Logistics Press Release
Deal Details: Four Bartra-owned nursing homes have been acquired by Aedifica in a deal worth c. €161.0m.
Bartra Healthcare is a Dublin-based group of nursing homes and traditional care units, it is part of the Bartra group that invests in property across all sectors. Bartra was founded by Richard Barrett in 2015 and is now led by Mike Flannery as CEO. Bartra Healthcare does not publish turnover or EBITDA information.
Aedifica is a Belgian-listed company that specialises in investments in European healthcare real estate. In particular, housing for seniors with care needs. The business has 599 properties with over 44,300 users. The business was founded in 2005 and is led by Stefaan Gielens. Consolidation has been a trend in the nursing home sector for a number of years now and Aedifica has proven very active in the Irish market, having already made 9 acquisitions in the Irish market since the beginning of the year. It has also announced investment plans for three care properties. Despite this strong presence in Ireland, the fair value of Irish properties only accounts for c. 2% of Aedifica’s portfolio. In FY21, it had net assets of c. €2.8bn.
Financial Advisor: Venero Capital.
Renatus Comment: The HR software space has been increasingly active since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, and Our Tandem is likely another company to have benefitted from this trend.
As staff become increasingly difficult to attract and retain alongside working from home becoming more normalised, businesses are investing more into technology tools like Our Tandem and Wrkit. WorkHuman is also a huge player in this space and this topic is discussed at length in Renatus’ first podcast with Barry Maloney, which can be accessed through the following Link.
Source: Beqom Press Release
Deal Details: Cavan-based Galetech has acquired Precision Gear Company for consideration reported to be £1m (€1.2m).
Galetech Group is a renewable energy company that is involved in project development, management, and related services in the renewable and sustainable housing sectors. The business employs over 130 people. According to the business, group turnover is in excess of €17m.
Precision Gear Company is a Northern Ireland-based heavy engineering business. Gaeltech has acquired the business from Macrete, a precast concrete manufacturer-based in Antrim. Precision Gear Company specialises in the maintenance and refurbishment of heavy-duty gearboxes typically found in wind turbines, shipping vessels.
Advisers: None mentioned
Renatus Comment: Galetech is establishing a strong presence in the maintenance and supply niche servicing the growing wind farm sector in Ireland. Last year, Galetech acquired Optinenergy, a wind turbine maintenance provider which focuses on older generation wind farms.
Interestingly, there are no facilities in Ireland to repair new wind turbines being installed today which are significantly bigger than ones from 10+ years ago with turbines having to be shipped abroad to be repaired. Galetch is looking to fix this issue through expansion of its operations in the space, with sights set on building a new facility for this purpose.
Source: Business Post
Outhaus Group Limited, which operates as three business (Kingscourt Country Manor, Stonepave and Outhaus), specialises in the sale building materials, ancilliary products and natural stone resources. The business is based in Dublin and wholly owned by Kenneth, Beatrice, Paul and Keith O’Sullivan alongside Cormac Lane.
In the group’s financial year to September 2021, the business reported turnover of c. €18.9m, which converted to an EBITDA of c. €2.4m. This represented a year-on-year rise of 9.0% and 12.2% respectively. Gross margins were effectively flat year-on-year, with rising revenues and a fall in administrative expenses being the main factors resulting in the increased EBITDA figure.
The business finished the year with a cash balance of c. €5.1m, a rise of c. €1.1m year-on-year. Significant cash movements included a c. €475k investment in working capital and a dividend payment of €670k.
The group employed an average of 42 people over the year, at an annual cost of c. €1.9m.
Trading as Divane Volkswagon, S. Divane & Sons Limited is the main Volkswagon dealer for Kerry. The company was founded by Stanley Divane in 1954.
The business reported an FY21 turnover of c. €30.5m which converted to an EBITDA of c. €1.2m. This represented a 23.3% and 60.6% increase, respectively on the previous year. This increase was partially driven by an improving margin from FY20 (9.2%) to FY21 (10.2%).
Significant post EBITDA cash movements included the repayments of loans amounting to c. €591k. The business closed FY21 with a net cash balance of c. €2.2m.
The business is owned entirely by John and Denis Divane and employed c. 33 staff in FY21 a cost of c. €1.6m.
Who: Pure Ocean Algae, a macro algae based biotechnology company. It is a commercial end-to-end production platform that produces the red seaweed Plamaria palmata, which is used in the pharmaceutical, cosmetics and food/vegetable protein sectors.
What: Pure Ocean Algae has raised €1.5m in a seed funding round led by The Yield Lab and including Carbery Group, Sea-ahead Blue Angel Group and Enterprise Ireland.
Why: The funding round will allow the company to double the number of employees and expand the business beyond west Cork. It will also allow the business to expand all its operations including land-based production, sea-based capabilities and research and development.
Source: Irish Examiner
Who: Modern Democracy, a modern polling solution that can give greater control and visibility to polling stations on election day by digitalising the check-in process.
What: The business has raised £700,000 in a funding round led by local business angel investors including Halo Business Angel Network Northern Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and InterTradeIreland.
Why: The company hopes to secure a further £1.3m funding, bringing the total to £2m, in order to branch out globally.
Source: Irish News
Who: The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund and AIB have allocated funding to the London-based Claret European Growth Capital Fund III.
What: A combined €25m has been allocated with ISIF contributing €15m and AIB adding €10m from its own balance sheet.
Why: Claret European Growth Capital Fund III will invest in Irish tech and life science start-ups with this funding.
Source: Irish Independent
Who: Doddl.ie, a digital mortgage platform that accesses the Irish mortgage market and assists its customers in securing a mortgage at the best value.
What: The company has raised an undisclosed seven-figure investment.
Why: The investment will allow the company to expand its offerings to include a range of related financial products. It also plans to introduce the latest technologies including open banking and artificial intelligence.
Source: Irish Independent
Who: Cushla Health Systems, a healthcare platform that allows patients to access and store their own medical records and healthcare data in order to become more engaged and receive faster and more effective treatment.
What: Cushla has raised €3m in early-stage funding having raised interest from family trusts and high-net-worth individuals.
Why: The funding will be used to further roll out the platform’s pilot scheme in Ireland and the UK.
Source: Capital IQ
Who: Wayflyer, a Dublin-based growth financing provider to eCommerce companies, allowing them to fund advertising and inventory in advance of selling items.
What: The business has secured c. €254m in debt financing from Credit Suisse. This is split into c. €200m of debt and a c. €54m mezzanine facility.
Why: The funding will increase Wayflyers origination capability, offer more competitive rates to US and Western European customers and will improve the company’s liquidity.
Source: Irish Times
Who: Allsorter, an AI-powered resume cognition software for recruiters. The business was founded in 2003 by Declan Murphy and is based in Dublin.
What: The business has raised c. €1.0m in funding from Elkstone Ventures.
Why: The funding is set to go toward expansion into Europe, Asia Pacific, and the US.
Who: Xavatar, a Kerry-based business that provides a unique technology platform that creates real-time customisable digital avatars. The business was founded last year and is led by Jason P Rothberg.
What: The business is in the process of raising c. €12m from various investors.
Why: The funding appears to be going toward team expansion with the business having expressed intentions to increase its local workforce in Kenmare by 50 people before the end of 2023.
Source: Business Post
Who: SalesTier, a software platform built for the beverage industry. The business was founded last year by John Hannon and is based in Dublin.
What: The business has raised a pre-seed funding round of c. €600k with plans to raise a further €2m by the end of 2023.
Why: The funding will go toward supporting the business’s growth in the US.
Source: Business Post
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.
The increase in average hourly earnings over the last year. Average weekly earnings as of Q2 2022 stand at €871.62, up from €850.81 in Q2 2021. According to @CSOIreland
The potential increased cost to the Irish government in Budget 2023 if it aims to keep pace with inflation. This would allow the government to increase core social welfare payments, pension payments, and public sector wages in line with expected inflation. @IrishTimes
The increase in overseas arrivals in July 2022, compared to July 2021. The CSO’s figures show c. 1.97m people arrived in Ireland through both air and sea. This is however still 12% behind the pre-pandemic level of c. 2.23m in July 2019. @CSOIreland
The proportion of prospective homebuyers that must consider purchasing a home that’s not in their preferred location. This is also occurring among 75% of renters. According to @MyHomeProperty
The decline in the volume of Irish retail sales in the year to July 2022 compared to 2021. Motors (-16.2%), other retail (-21.5%) and food & beverages (-10.9%) saw the largest decreases while bars (+56.8%) saw the largest increase. According to @CSOIreland
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:
Renatus’ Knowledge Centre
Our Knowledge Centre is filled with insights from some of Ireland’s top business leaders on Succession Planning, Management Buyouts / Buy-Ins, Growth Financing and much more.
Subscribe to our Podcast
The Renatus Podcast, hosted by Renatus advisor and investor Greg Dilger, is a series of conversations with people in business – owners, operators, and investors.