InsightsNewsletterRenatus’ Weekly M&A Newsletter – 10/10/2021

Renatus’ Weekly M&A Newsletter – 10/10/2021

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Dear Reader,

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

M&A Activity

Renatus invests in AQF


Deal Details: We are very pleased to announce that Renatus Capital Partners has completed a minority investment in AQF Ltd. We will partner with existing shareholders Adelante Manufacturing Ltd and the Moran Brothers, to support the business’s ambitious growth plans.

Founded in 2005, AQF Ltd has grown strongly in its specialist market of converting technical foams for its medical, electronics and packaging customers. From a solid base in Ireland, the business now exports to over 20 countries and participates in a successful technical foam joint venture in Singapore.

To learn more about AQF’s innovative solutions and products, please visit its website here

Advisers: The execution deal team in Renatus was led by Philip Gardiner and supported by Conor Hall and Kyle Barry. They burnt a lot of midnight oil in recent weeks and congrats to all three for getting over the line.

Renatus received legal advice from an LK Shields team led by Emmet Scully, Lisa McEllin and Andrew Power. Tax structuring advice was provided by Mike Hayes, Sinead Kelly, and Claire Waters of KPMG. Financial due diligence was completed by Michael Neary, Paul Murray and Robbie Doddy of Grant Thornton. Tax due diligence was complete by Peter Vale, Finnian O’Sullivan and Sarah Meredith, also of Grant Thornton.

AQF received legal advice from Colm Kearney of Kearney Solicitors and tax advice from Gary O’Mahony of O’Hara Dolan. Alan Mahon and Peter Golden of AIB Corporate Finance provided corporate finance advice to the company.
Rachel Barry of Ormsby & Rhodes supported on the tax side.

AIB also provided funding support for this investment, led by Jamie Nolan, Tim O’Broin, Conor Morgan, Bill McIvor and Darragh Kelly.

Renatus Comment: This is Renatus’ seventh investment and its fourth from its second fund.

This business is run by Seamus Fagan, the managing director, fellow ex-Smurfit senior executive Tom Lane and Michael, Aidan and Colin Moran. It is wonderful to see global best practice management being applied to grow Irish SMEs. The spin-offs from GPA, Galway MedTech and others in entrepreneurial Ireland has been well documented. Less celebrated, but equally impressive, is the numerous ex-Smurfit trained executives that have had huge successes in growing Irish SMEs to be global leaders in their field. Seamus and Tom’s fellow founding shareholders, the Moran family, also have an amazing story in that the catalyst to get into foam came when as furniture makers some decades ago they were not happy with their foam supply. At the time it was obvious but led them to eventually converting foam in a cleanroom environment for global medical companies. We are looking forward to the journey ahead and privileged they chose us as partners for the journey ahead.

Renatus is a boutique, impact-driven private equity fund focused on providing supportive equity capital (minority and majority) to ambitious SMEs across Ireland and the UK.

To see more about what we do and the businesses we have partnered with, please visit our website here.

Source: Renatus Capital Partners

INNOVU acquires Cullen Insurances


Deal Details: INNOVU Group has announced the acquisition of William Cullen & Sons Ltd, trading as Cullen Insurances, for an undisclosed sum.

Irish-owned INNOVU is one of the largest insurance brokers in the country, having brought together two of Ireland’s leading brokers, Sheridan Insurances and Wexford Insurances, before acquiring Goggin Insurance Brokers.

The company offers business, personal and financial insurance solutions. INNOVU Group is led by CEO, Ronan Foley. Existing shareholders include Darragh Goggin and MML partners, which has backed INNOVU in each acquisition to date. Innovu Group Holding Company Limited’s 2020 Turnover was c. €7.9m, which converted to c. €1.6m EBITDA.

Established in 1974 by Bill Cullen, Cullen Insurances, with offices in Limerick and Tipperary, focuses on small businesses, sole traders and private clients. The firm is led by Managing Director, Douglas Howell, and Director, Robert Ryan, who will both join INNOVU Group as shareholders.

Legal – McCann Fitzgerald
Financial and Tax Due Diligence – Deloitte and PwC
Corporate Advisors – Brian Duncan, AIB

Cullen Insurances:
Legal – Billy O’Dowd, Harrison O’Dowd LLP Solicitors
​​​​​​Corporate Advisors – David Lucas & PKF O’Connor, Leddy & Holmes Limited team.

Renatus Comment: The deal sees the MML backed INNOVU Group continue their nationwide expansion, with CEO Ronan Foley outlining the group’s aim to be the independent broker of choice in Ireland. The acquisition of Cullen Insurances sees INNOVU’s footprint expand into Munster, adding to their present in the South East and Mid-West of the country. The deal is beneficial for both parties, with smaller brokers such as Cullen’s being afforded the opportunity to capitalise on their strong reputation and customer base, by partnering with INNOVU to grow their business offering as part of a stronger group.

The Financial Services and Insurance space continues to see a lot of consolidation activity with over a dozen deals completed in the space since the start of the year.

SourceINNOVU Group Press Release

Chifam Inc acquired by Kora Healthcare


Deal Details: Kora Healthcare, a Dublin-based pharma company, has announced the acquisition of Canadian-based Chifam Inc.
This acquisition was performed through Kora’s Canadian entity Kora Healthcare Canada Inc. The deal consideration was not disclosed.

Kora Healthcare is an emerging pharma company which specialises in identifying, developing and commercialising healthcare products focused on the areas of supportive care, genito-urinary medicine and consumer care. Kora, founded in 1994, operates in over 30 countries.

Chifam Inc. is a Canadian healthcare company specialising in immunotherapy and immune modulation for rare conditions.

Prior to this acquisition, Chifam was the distributor of a key drug product to Kora Healthcare.

Advisers: Loopstra Nixon LLP acted as legal counsel to Kora Healthcare.

Renatus Comment:  This acquisition will accelerate Kora’s expansion throughout the North American markets (Canada and USA) and is in line with Kora’s stated acquisition and investment strategy in the region.

Kora Healthcare is a subsidiary of the Immdal Group which is wholly owned by the O’Daly family.

Source: Kora Healthcare Press Release

Norish cold storage division to be acquired by Japanese group


Deal Details: The cold storage division of Norish is to be acquired by a wholly owned subsidiary of Nichirei Logistics Group for a reported £67.5m. The transaction is scheduled to complete in October, subject to shareholder approval.

Norish plc is a third-party multi-temperature warehousing and logistics business providing services to importers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and distributors.

Founded in 1975, Norish is incorporated in Ireland and is listed on the AIM. It is led by Irishman Kieran Mahon. It operates from 6 UK sites. The company had 2020 turnover of c. £33.4m, with the cold storage division generating revenues of c. £14.6m and EBITDA of c. £4.6m. The purchase of its cold storage division leaves sourcing and dairy as the business’ primary divisions.

Nichirei Logistics Group Inc. is the largest temperature-controlled logistics group in Japan. The group has been developing its cold storage logistics business in Europe since 1988.

Advisors: GCA Altium provided M&A advice to Nichirei Holding Limited on the deal.

Renatus Comment: The acquisition enables the Nichirei Logistics Group to make a full-scale entry into the refrigerated warehousing business in the UK. Further global consolidation of the refrigerated warehousing industry, into the Nichirei Group, should afford the group further opportunities to expand through global synergies, given the group’s current presence in Europe, China and ASEAN.

Source: Insider Media

GRP acquires Willis Towers Watson


Deal Details:  ​​​​​​Northern Irish commercial risk and brokering business Willis Towers Watson (WTW) has been acquired by Global Risk Partners (GRP), a UK insurance intermediary group. ​​​​​​The deal consideration was not disclosed.

Global Risk Partners, founded in 2013, currently manages around £1.6bn premium and employs c. 2,000 people.

The acquisition included WTW’s £65m gross written premium portfolio in Northern Ireland which has been taken over by ABL group, a subsidiary of GRP.

The acquisition does not include WTW’s operations in the Republic of Ireland or WTW’s human capital and benefits business in Northern Ireland. Willis Towers Watson Plc is a British multinational risk management, insurance brokerage and advisory company.

Advisers: None mentioned

Renatus Comment: Despite challenges and disruptions over the past few months, this deal shows that GRP Group has remained focused on completing acquisitions. This acquisition will allow GRP Group to continue building its presence and grow in Northern Ireland.

Source: GRP Group Press Release

Viatel acquires Skytel Networks Ireland


Deal DetailsViatel has made its 4th acquisition in 12 months, with the acquisition of Skytel Networks, a wireless broadband provider.  This acquisition will enhance Viatel and Digweb’s reach, product set and capability to be a strong services provider to connectivity users.  The deal consideration was not disclosed.

The Group is Irish headquartered and is developing extensive capability in Ireland and beyond.  The Group was founded by Colm Piercy in 1997.  It has re-imagined itself in recent years as a market leading “cloud + communications” services provider for businesses through the Viatel platform, and for consumers through the Digiweb platform. ​​​​​​The Group is ultimately owned by Colm Piercy of Chirisa Investments alongside Quay Ventures.

Skytel, founded in 2006 by Garrett McElroy, is an internet service provider focusing mainly on the Southeast of Ireland. The business is headquartered in Wexford.

Advisers: Raymond Donegan led the team at IBI Corporate Finance with assistance from Sarah Grouse and Michael Moriarty to advise Skytel Networks Ireland.

Kevin McNulty from Venture Law advised Viatel on the transaction.

Renatus Comment: Skytel Networks, trading under Rocket Broadband has grown to become a leading internet service provider throughout the Southeast of the country. This deal serves as a well suited bolt on acquisition for the Digiweb Group and an attractive sale for Garrett McElroy, director and founder of Skytel.

Source: IBI Corporate Finance Press Release

Broderick’s buys back family business


Deal Details: The Broderick family has bought back 75% of its business from BDO’s Development Capital.

The deal value is reportedly c. €3m, funded by corporate financier Kevin Warren, Irelandia Investments and accountant Pat Burke.

Ina’s Kitchen Desserts Ltd, T/A Brodericks, is a family run bakery based in Dublin. Founded by Ina Broderick in 1983, it is now led by brothers Barry and Bernard.

BDO’s Development Capital took majority control of the business in 2019 after converting loan notes into equity.

Advisers: None mentioned

Renatus Comment: The deal sees the company’s founders re-enter the business, to continue the journey they began in 1994. The Brodericks family will lead a company that employs nearly 100 staff and has reported annual sales of over €13m.

Source: Irish Times

BellCap acquires Bunalun


Deal Details: Bellingham Capital (BellCap) has acquired National Organic 160 Products Limited, which trades as Bunalun, based in Bray Co Wicklow. The deal consideration was not disclosed.

Bunalun is one of Ireland’s largest organic food brands. It is led by co-founder Kieran Dunne, who will continue in the company as a managing director following the deal.

BellCap, an investment fund founded by Mark Goodman in 2021, invests in the areas of agri-business food industry and renewable projects across Ireland and the UK.


National Organics:
Corporate Finance – Alan Mahon, Peter Golden and Peter Twomey from AIB
Legal – Gavin O’Flaherty and Maria O’Brien from Eversheds

Corporate Finance – KPMG
Legal – A&L Goodbody

Renatus Comment: In its most recent financial year to December 2020, National Organic 160 Products Limited reported revenue of c. €21.6m which converted to EBITDA of c. €1.9m. It employed 48 staff during that year. Prior to the transaction it was owned by Daly family members Jacqueline, Isolde and William alongside Kieran Dunne.


Bloc acquires FAST


Deal Details: Bloc, a global manufacturing and design business, has announced the acquisition of Factory Automation & Systems Technologies (“FAST”) for undisclosed amount.

Bloc, based in Magharafelt, Co Derry and with divisions in Belfast and the Netherlands, consists of Bloc Blinds; Bloc Healthcare Solutions and Bloc Labs. Bloc, founded in 2009, employs over 250 staff.

Derry-based FAST provides bespoke technical solutions to its global client base which includes DuPont, Unilever, Caterpillar and Seagate.

Advisers: Grant Thornton NI LLP provided Bloc Corporate Finance and Tax advice. John McGuckian and Brendan Donnelly from Tughans advised Bloc Blinds on the legals.

Davidson McDonnell acted for the FAST shareholders on the legal aspects of the transaction.

Renatus Comment: The deal brings together two highly innovative, export-focused manufacturing operations, with both firms being adept in design and engineering. Cormac Diamon, managing director of Bloc has outlined how FAST’s ‘best in-class’ manufacturing and automation will enhance Bloc’s long-term growth strategy.

Source: Bloc

Deal Updates & Other News

Liquidator confirmed for Emuse Corporation

Deal Details: Joe Walsh of JW Accountants has been appointed as liquidator to Emuse Corporation, a Dublin-based media technology company.

The business was established in the late 1990s by former college lecturer Patrick Rainsford and former business associate, Peter Conlon. It sold interactive software for advertising, listing past clients such as Audi, Barbie and ITV.

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.


Tiernaneill Mushrooms Limited, trading as Goldcircle Mushrooms,  is a family owned business established in 1999 and based in Tiernaneill, County Monaghan. The business specialises in growing mushrooms and oversees 14 growth tunnels.

In the financial year ending 31st of December 2020, Tiernaneill reported a turnover of c. €20.8m, representing a decrease of c. 12% year on year and generated an EBITDA of c. €1.4m, an increase of c. 5.2% year on year.

Some of Tiernaneills most significant cash movements included the purchasing of tangible fixed assets of c. €731k and short term loan repayments of c. €3.5m. However this was offset by c. €4.1m of new loan drawdowns, leaving the business with a closing net cash and equivalents balance of c. €134k, an increase of c. €27k from 2019.

Tiernaneill employed an average of 267 employees throughout 2020 at a cost of c. €6.7m. The business is owned by the Walsh family.

goldcircle figs

Ballygorman Contracts Ltd is a concrete, form-work, civil engineering and industrial flooring specialist contractor based in Donegal. Its construction clients include BAM, Hegarty and Mannings.

In its financial year to December 2020, Ballygorman reported revenues of c. €19.4m which converted to EBITDA of c. €2.9m, an increase YoY of 23.2% and 155.1%, respectively. EBITDA growth is largely attributable to a gross margin increase from 10.9% in FY19 to 20.2% in FY20. The directors have highlighted the company’s increased revenues as being due to increased activity in the construction industry, whilst also emphasizing their ability to boost margins by establishing an efficient purchasing management chain and closely reviewing business-wide costs.

The business finished the year with a cash balance of c. €2.7m, an increase of c. €1.9m over the year.

The business is owned by Jennifer Coffey and David Muckian, the two sole directors in the business.

bally figs


WhoGreencoat Renewables, a Dublin-listed renewable energy investor, is to raise capital through new share issue. Greencoat has over £6bn under management and is one of Europe’s largest investment managers in the renewable energy space.

What: The company is looking to raise capital by issuing up to 400 million shares over the next year at an initial placing price of €1.11 per share. These shares will be issued in an unspecified number of tranches. This share issue program is expected to dilute existing holdings by over 30% and is subject to shareholder approval. Shareholders will vote on the matter on the 28th of October.

Why: The share issue program is to be used to enable further growth through continuing expansion into the European continental markets.

SourceThe Irish Times

Who: Arex Holding Limited, an Irish fintech that offers SMEs an innovative way to sell invoices, has secured investment.

What: The investment value was not disclosed. Mosaic Ventures was among the backers in this round.

Advisers: Emmet Scully and Lester Sosa-Villatoro of LK Shields advised Mosaic Ventures.

Source: LK Shields Press Release

WhoChatspace, a Galway-based productivity booster, whose AI-fuelled system aims to help businesses manage projects more efficiently.

What: Grant Engineering’s Stephen Grant has invested €250,000 into Chatspace.

Why: The funding will help Chatspace scale its businesses model, with the aim of increasing market share, with 80% of project management tasks expected to be completed by AI as of 2030.

SourceSunday Times

WhoYatta, Alan Quinlan’s white-label financial management app.

What: It has attracted funding of €1.1m from investors, including Tetrarch’s Damien Gaffney and New Ireland’s Gerry Hassett.

Why: The early-stage funding will be used to drive the company’s early-stage growth prospects.

SourceSunday Times

WhoInis Offshore Wind, a state-backed Irish offshore wind developer.

What: The company has secured funding from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), which has provided €50m of the fund’s €126m investment assets.

Why: The funding will be used to invest up to €3bn in up to five major projects. It plans to develop one gigwatt of wind capacity across two east-coast sites by 2030.

SourceSunday Independent

WhoEqual1, a UCD spin-out and silicon quantum computing company that uses semiconductor technology to deliver quantum computing solutions.

WhatEqual1 has completed a multimillion fundraise from btov Industrial Technologies, Atlantic Bridge and other investors. This raise brings the total capital invested into Equal1 to over €10m.

Why: Funding will be used to accelerate the introduction of compact and cost-effective quantum computers.

Advisers: Regan Wall acted as to advisers to btov Industrial Technologies

SourceEqual1 press release

Executive and Board Appointments

We in Renatus believe that more important than the deals are the people so on a weekly basis we have decided to provide you with details of key recent executive and board-level appointments.

Martin Treacy

martin treacy

(Google Images & LinkedIn)

martin bio

Nuala Crimmins


(Google Images & LinkedIn)

nula bio

Matt McCullough

matt mc

(Google Images & LinkedIn)

matt bio

Brian Sammon

brian s

(Google Images & LinkedIn)

brian bio

Thought for the Week

This week, for a lighter hearted ‘Thought of the Week’, we thought we’d refer to the ‘We Are Back’ Twitter Account. It highlights moments of possible Déjà vu to previous boom times. The link to their page is here.

We have picked out our Top Ten recent posts below:

  1. Davy doubles growth prediction for Irish economy to 10% in light of rapid third quarter bounce back driven by successful Covid-19 vaccination programme. – Irish Times
  2. Travel Industry on edge of potential ‘Golden Age’ as demand soars after Covid impact – Irish Times
  3. House asking prices jump 9% in aggressive market – Irish Times
  4. Ireland is the most expensive country in the EU for housing costs, with housing costs 77% above the EU average. – Eurostat survey
  5. 2 bed Dublin property listed by Sherry Fitz at an asking price of €495k, or €919 per square foot.
  6. Return to Celtic Tiger era as house prices soar by up to €1,500 a week.
  7. The most basic accommodation in UCD in UCD €8,059 for the upcoming academic year, compared to €3,694 in 2007-08. This is an increase of 118%, compared to Dublin apartment rents, which have risen by 47%. – Irish Independent
  8. 18 unfinished homes for sale in Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon for €1.2m, versus €1.3m for a three-bed semi in Ranelagh.
  9. Central Dublin three-bed apartments averaging around €3,500 to €5,000 a month, while 75% of Irish workers earn less than €40,000 a year.
  10. Home sales to first-time buyers were at their highest level since the Celtic Tiger in the first 3 months of 2021. –

@RenatusCapital Tweets


The Y-o-Y increase in the Irish consumer debit and credit card spending abroad for August 2021, amounting to €346m, according to Central Bank.


The total investment in Irish real estate so far for 2021, according to Savills. @RTEbusiness


The Y-o-Y decrease in the new car registrations in Ireland for September 2021 amounting to 4,426 new cars, according to SIMI. @RTEbusiness


The AIB PMI for the Irish services sector for Q3 2021 marking the strongest quarterly average since Q2 2006. @RTEbusiness


The Y-o-Y drop in the NI new car sales for September 2021 amounting to 3,449 new cars, according to SMMT. @BelTel


The Covid-19 adjusted Irish unemployment rate for September 2021 for all persons including those on the PUP, down from 15.9% in September 2020.


The Y-o-Y increase in the cost of a second-hand home in Ireland for the first 9 months of 2021, according to figures from Sherry FitzGerald.

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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