Please find below this week’s newsletter covering the latest M&A, company performance, fundraisings and executive moves.
We had the pleasure of speaking with Rosheen McGuckian, CEO of NTR plc, on this 6th episode of The Renatus Podcast.
Rosheen discussed how NTR manages its numerous assets, her professional path to-date, overseeing the company’s international expansion, the DNA of NTR and the Roche family and the prognosis for the Irish renewable energy market with host Greg Dilger.
Some of the highlights for us from the podcast include:
Click the below link to listen on our website, or wherever you listen to your podcasts:
“Our secret sauce is our engineering DNA & mindset” – with Rosheen McGuckian of NTR plc
While we have been prophets of doom for some time in this newsletter on the inflation front, we are hoping the darkest hours are before the dawn.
It is not clear what could stop this vicious circle that is only gathering pace. One would hope some level of normalisation of various factors could create a reversion to the mean.
The inspiration for this hope can be found in recent events driven by Covid. In late 2020, Zoom and Peloton shareholders were the smartest, socially distanced folk in the room.
The world had changed and these were the poster kids enjoying the shift to remote living. Peloton and Zoom share prices have respectively lost 85% and 80% of their value.
Dublin Airport’s traffic was 70% down in 2020. Those in the know, including its chairman, predicted even up to late last year it will take years for traffic levels to recover to the pre-Covid level but current queues show we are very close to “reversion to mean”.
Now the conventional wisdom is that inflation is here for years. Let’s hope like Peloton, Zoom and Dublin Airport various forces combine in the near future to create a reversion to mean that could extinguish what otherwise looks like a very damaging forest fire.
Deal Details: KPMG Ireland has acquired Dublin-based construction consulting firm, KMCS. Deal details were not disclosed.
KPMG Ireland is based at Stokes Place in Dublin. KPMG has over 3,000 staff in Ireland, providing audit, tax and advisory services to a diverse range of clients. It is led by managing director, Seamus Hand.
KMCS Limited provides construction and cost consultancy services. The company was founded in 1954 and is based in Dublin. The company’s 35 staff will be integrated within KPMG. The business is owned and led by managing director, Nigel Spence. The business does not report turnover or EBITDA information.
Deal advisory: A Montanum Advisory team, led by Jim Mulqueen and Fiona McGuire.
Legal: Wallace Corporate, led by Sean Wallace and Alban O’Callaghan.
Tax: Warren & Partners, led by Tom Mahon and Sinead Scanlan.
All advisory services were conducted in-house.
Renatus Comment: The Big 4 accountancy firms in Ireland have been diversifying away from traditional core services with recent acquisitions. EY recently acquired Client Solutions, a software development, and IT consultancy business, while Deloitte acquired Belfast-based digital and data transformation business, Etain. KPMG’s acquisition of KMCS sees a continuation of this trend, which will further diversify the business’ consulting offering, which already operates multiple streams including strategy, financial management, and technology. KMCS’ experience in consulting for projects for many blue-chip clients such as Facebook, Stripe, and Primark will add immediate value to KPMG’s offering.
Source: Irish Times
Deal Details: Twitter has announced the acquisition of Dublin-based marketing platform, OpenBack. The deal consideration was not disclosed.
Twitter is a global social media network. The business is led by CEO Parag Agrawal and is headquartered in San Francisco. Some of the top shareholders of the business include Vanguard, Morgan Stanley, BlackRock, State Street, and Elon Musk. The business reported a turnover of c. $3.72bn in FY20.
OpenBack is a marketing platform that improves how push notifications work. The business was founded in 2015 and is led by co-founder and CEO David Shackleton. The business has offices in Dublin, San Francisco, and London and prior to this investment, shareholders included Enterprise Ireland, Shackleton, Christian Ryder, and Rv7 Ventures.
Corporate Finance: A CKS Finance Corporate Finance team of Conor Sheahan, Gavin Pitcher, Becky Gordon and David Regan acted for OpenBack
Legal: Cillian Balfe of Whitney Moore
Accounting: Denis Breen of Profit Pal
Renatus Comment: CEO and majority shareholder, David Shackleton has been a figurehead in the Irish tech industry for a number of years now. Ding, an Irish mobile top-up platform that was co-founded and led by Mr. Shackleton until 2018, recently received a minority investment from Pollen Street Capital which was reported to be in excess of $300m. Having now been acquired by Twitter for an undisclosed sum it will be interesting to see if Mr. Shakleton will stay on with OpenBack post-investment or move on to create another new venture.
Source: Irish Independent
Deal Details: UK-based Wolseley has announced the acquisition of three Irish businesses: Heat Merchants, Tubs & Tiles, and Hevac. The deal consideration was not disclosed and is subject to CCPC approval.
The three Irish businesses are owned by Harleston Limited and reported a combined revenue figure of c. €150m with over 400 staff throughout Ireland. Hevac is a domestic, commercial & industrial plumbing & heating specialist; Heat Merchants supplies a portfolio of heating, plumbing, and renewable energy solutions for both domestic and commercial projects; and Tubs & Tiles is a supplier of tiles and bathroom materials. Pre-transaction, the businesses were majority-owned by Seamus, Carol, Sara, and Martha English.
Wolseley UK is a supplier of building materials, with trade customers accounting for the largest proportion of its sales. The business also has retail showrooms. The business reported revenue of c. £1.6bn in 2021 and employs c. 4,300 staff.
Heat merchants, Tubs & Tiles, and Hevac:
Corporate Finance: A Capnua Corporate finance team of Paul Keenan, Alan Dunne, Ciaran O’Meara and Harry Bennett acted for the vendor
Wolseley UK: None Mentioned.
Renatus Comment: This acquisition marks the re-entry of Wolseley UK into the Irish market after selling Heat Merchants and Tubs & Tiles along with Brook and Encon for c. €26m in 2010. As of February of last year, Wolseley UK is no longer owned by Ferguson plc. After Clayton, Dubilier & Rice completed a carve-out transaction of the business unit for a reported £308m.
Source: Hevac Press Release
Deal Details: Renewable Energy Devices (RED) has been acquired by global energy tech pioneer, Octopus Energy. Deal details were not disclosed.
RED, based in Craigavon, Co. Armagh, manufactures air source heat pumps. The business is led by CEO and founder, Dr Jason Cassells. The business had FY20 turnover of £385k, which converted to an EBITDA of £71k.
Octopus Energy Group is a global energy tech pioneer launched in 2016. In December 2021, Octopus Energy Group was valued at approximately $5 billion following a $600 million investment from Generation Investment Management and a $300 million investment from Canada Pensions Plan Investments Board.
Advisers: None mentioned.
Renatus Comment: The acquisition by Octopus Energy will see RED expand its current factory to produce over 1,000 heat pumps per month. REDs focus on highly efficient renewable energy heating products, in tandem with Octopus’s aim of getting more homes using renewable energy sources, can potentially drive down costs for customers. Interestingly, Octopus plans to incorporate its smart grid technology into the heat pumps, enabling them to capitalise on spare capacity in the electricity grid and reduce peak time loads, which would drive down costs for customers.
Source: Octopus Energy
Roughan and O’Donovan Engineers Limited provides consulting engineering services. Its focus is on civil, environmental, and structural engineering. The business is based in Dublin. The business is owned by a number of shareholders including Mark Kilcullen, Harry Meighan, Tony Dempsey, among others.
In its financial year to October 2021, the business had turnover of c. €25.6m, which converted to an EBITDA of c. €0.5m. Both represented an increase of 7.7% year-on-year.
The business finished the year with a cash balance of c. €3.3m. The most significant post-EBITDA uses of cash were an investment in working capital, along with the acquisition of fixed assets. The business employed an average of 220 people at an annual cost €15.9m.
Killeshal Precast Concrete Limited, manufactures precast concrete products. The business is owned by Brackenbuck Limited, which is owned by Patrick Nolan, Frank Bracken, William Farrell, Frank Mulligan (CEO), and Jonathon Geraghty. The business is based in Daingean, Co. Offaly.
In its financial year to July 2021, the business had turnover of €15.9m, which converted to an EBITDA of €3.1m. This was an increase of 6.6% and 7.5%, respectively. The increase in EBITDA was driven partly by an increasing gross margin, up from 34.7% to 36.2%, along with the increased revenue figure.
The business finished the year with a cash balance of c. €4.3m, an increase of €2.4m year-on-year. The business employed an average of 93 people at an annual cost of c. €3.8m.
Who: Limerick-Headquartered environmental engineering and environmental management group BHSL.
What: BHSL has received growth capital from European private debt house, Beechbrook Capital. BHSL reported turnover of c. €27m in 2020.
Beechbrook Capital is a specialist fund manager providing debt, or debt and equity, capital to small and medium-sized businesses in northern Europe. The business was established in 2008 and has offices in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Frankfurt, Cork, and Dublin.
Why: With this latest raise of cash and chairman Denis Brosnan (previously Kerry Group) on the leadership team at BHSL it is likely that BHSL is gearing up for another spree of clever bolt-on acquisitions. The business acquired Glanway, a Waterford-based waste processor in 2018 and Glan Agua, a water treatment business in 2021.
Corporate Finance: Focus Capital led by Rob Adams and Hazel Slattery.
Legal: Holmes Solicitors led by Lisa Killeen and George Kennedy.
Legal: Ronan Daly Jermyn LLP led by Cian Fenton, JP Gilmartin, and Treasa Seoighe.
Source: Beechbrook press release
Who: Trinity Biotech, a Dublin-based global diagnostics company. The business is publicly traded and trades under the ticker ‘TRIB’.
What: The business has announced a $45m investment from MiCo Group, a South Korean medical company, semiconductor manufacturer, and energy business.
Why: These funds will reportedly be used by Trinity to repay a portion of the Company’s $81.25m loans, as well as facilitate the business exploring lower-cost debt funding options with the aim of reducing the company’s interest expense through refinancing the balance of the Company’s term loan at substantially lower interest rates.
Source: Trinity Biotech Press Release
Who: Umba, an Irish founded fintech focused on Africa, has raised funding. Umba was founded by Tiernan Kennedy and Barry O’Mahony.
What: The business has raised €13.8m in Series A funding. Backers include VC firm Costanoa Ventures, ACT Ventures and Tom Blomfield (co-founder of Monzo).
Why: The funding will be used to help bring a range of transferable and accessible financial products to the portion of the population in Africa which is underserved by legacy African banks.
Source: Tech Crunch
Who: Binarii Labs, a spin-in at NovaUCD, is an Irish blockchain start-up.
What: Binarii has closed a $1.6m seed round that values it at a reported $6.5m. Binari’s backers include the Paradigm Fund, a British Virgin Islands-registered digital assets investment fund.
Why: To continue developing enterprise-focused products based on distributed ledger technology.
Source: Business Post
Who: Gore Street Fund (“GSF”) is London’s first listed energy storage fund, investing in assets across the UK and internationally. GSF is led by Dubliner Alex O Cinnéide. In 2019, GSF received €10m in funding from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund.
What: GSF has raised £150m (€181m) in new financing from institutional and retail investors.
Why: The firm intends to significantly add to its existing portfolio, with a 1.3GW project pipeline.
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 average Irish mortgage interest rate as of February 2022, the second-highest in the euro zone. According to @centralbank_ie . @RTEbusiness
The year-on-year rise in digital advertising spending during 2021, amounting to €830m. Video adverts were the fastest-growing category, with spending there up 53% to €245m. According to a report by @iabireland & @PwCIreland
The year-on-year rise in the value of good-quality land in Ireland during 2021, while prices paid for poorer quality land dropped by an average of 10% nationally. According to the @farmersjournal
The year-on-year rise in the price of fertiliser in Ireland as of February 2022. According to @CSOIreland
The year-on-year growth in Ireland’s seafood economy during 2021, amounting to a value of €1.26 billion. According to @BordIascMhara
The BNP Paribas Real Estate Ireland Construction Total Activity Index as of March 2022, down from a reading of 58.4 in February. This indicates the Irish construction sector slowed in Q1 2022. Any figure over 50 signals growth. @RTEbusiness
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