Please find below this week’s newsletter covering the latest M&A, company performance, fundraisings and executive moves.
During the week, the euro crossed a major threshold for the first time since 2002: PARITY with the dollar. The decline is a result of continuous pressure from the war in Ukraine, energy crisis and fears the euro zone may be entering recession territory.
Given the dollar’s importance in global energy and fuel markets this going to keep energy costs up. In addition, purchases from the US or China (as they are mostly in USD) are likely to lead to further price inflation for certain goods and services.
To counter this there are some signs that lead indicators of inflation are coming back in line. Copper has plummeted 20.6% since its May peak, while aluminium is down almost 18%, and nickel 30.5%. Lumber has dropped 40%. Prices of agricultural commodities, including corn and soybeans, have also fallen steeply.
Deal Details: ComfortDelGro has acquired GoBus in a deal reported to be worth €12m.
Evobus and Coach Limited, t/a GoBus is an Irish bus company that operates 3 inter-city bus routes and has a fleet of 31 buses. The business was established in Galway in 2009 and is owned and operated by Jim Burke. It does not report turnover or EBITDA information.
ComfortDelGro is a global transport company with businesses including bus, taxi, rail, car rental, leasing and many land transport services. The group was formed in 2003 and is led by CEO Yang Ban Seng. It is headquartered in Singapore, however, the acquisition was made through the group’s wholly-owned unit ComfortDelGro Irish Citylink. In FY21 the group had a turnover of c. €2.5bn, which converted to an EBITDA of c. €374.0m. ComfortDelGro is led by David Conway in Ireland.
Legal: Holmes led by George Kennedy, Shane Costelloe and Ciara Downes.
Renatus Comment: ComfortDelGro is currently expanding through both acquisitions and investment in services and sustainability. It currently has a global fleet of c. 35,000 vehicles, having made acquisitions in Singapore, the UK and Ireland already this year.
Source: ComfortDelGro Press Release
Deal Details: O’Connor Utilities Group Limited has been acquired by Triton Partners in a deal worth a reported c. £400m.
O’Connor Utilities is a UK-based utility contractor that delivers a wide range of electricity, gas, water, telecoms, rail, and directional drilling solutions across the UK and Ireland. The company was founded in 1994 by Tim and Tom O’Connor, two brothers from West Cork. The group is headquartered in Manchester, where Michael Hughes leads the business as CEO supported by John McVeigh, Adrian O’Sullivan (O’Connor Utilities) and Vince Bowler as senior directors.
In FY21 O’Connor Utilities reported a turnover of £219.7m, which converted to an EBITDA of £26.9m. The group was owned entirely by the O’Connor family. The business is reported to have delivered revenues of c. £300m in its latest financial year.
Triton Partners is a London-based private equity firm.
Corporate Finance: Clearwater International & Evercore.
Legal: Addleshaw Goddard
Legal: White & Case led by Mike Wier and Lucy Bullock.
Renatus Comment: This is an outstanding story of two Irish entrepreneurs who through careful management, cautious growth, and hard work built a business with an EBITDA well in excess of £25m. Following the successes of the business under Tim and Tom O’Connor over the last three decades, the brothers exit leaving behind a strong culture and good growth prospects. The business has been left with what Tim and Tom describe as “an exceptional management team”.
Source: Triton Partners Press Release
Deal Details: National Broadband Ireland (“NBI”) has been acquired by Asterion Industrial Partners. Deal consideration has not been disclosed.
National Broadband Ireland designs, builds and operates high-speed broadband networks for rural Ireland. The company was founded by Granahan McCourt and is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. The company does not report turnover or EBITDA.
Asterion Industrial Partners is an independent investment management firm that concentrates on infrastructure investments in Europe. The company was established in 2018 by Jesús Olmos Clavijo, Winne Wutte and Guido Mitrani.
National Broadband Ireland
Legal: An Arthur Cox team led by Connor Manning, Aaron Boyle, Sophie Frederix and Brian O’ Gorman and included Amy McDermott, Tim Gleeson, Jean Kiely and Emma O’Keeffe (Corporate and M&A), Maeve Crockett and Olivia Abell (Infrastructure, Construction and Utilities) and Ailish Finnerty and Carl Grenville (Tax).
FDD: Deloitte led by Eoin O’Lideadha.
Tax: Deloitte led by David Shanahan.
Legal: Matheson led by George Brady, Garret Farrelly and Conor Blennerhassett, and included Chelsey O’Doherty (Corporate, Energy and Infrastructure, and Projects), Conor Browne (Corporate and M&A), Kate McKenna and Simon Shinkwin (EU Competition), Vahan Tchrakian and Chloe Power (Tax).
Renatus Comment: NBI is in the process of supplying high-speed broadband to 559,000 locations throughout Ireland that don’t currently have it. Asterion Industrial Partners has significant experience in rural fibre infrastructure, specialising in the telecoms, energy and utilities, and mobility sectors, and its expertise will be embraced with such an ambitious project. This acquisition comes after it had been formerly stated that NBI was pursuing new financial support with long-term investment prospects.
Source: The Independent
Deal Details: Arachas acquires Apex Insurance. The deal consideration has not been disclosed.
Arachas Insurance is an insurance broker offering insurance services to both businesses and individuals. It was originally founded in Cork in 1969 and is led by CEO, Conor Brennan. The business became part of the Ardonagh group in 2020. In FY20 the business had a turnover of €46.5m, which converted to an EBITDA of €16.3m.
Apex Insurance is a Cork-based insurance company that covers a wide range of insurance products including business insurance, manufacturers’ insurance, landlords’ insurance and more. The business was founded by Theo Hoare in 2011. The company does not publish turnover or EBITDA.
FDD: Mazars led by Mark Mulcahy, Anthony Shiel.
M&A Advisory: PKF led by David Lucas and Patrick Keane.
Renatus Comment: Arachas is an extremely active acquirer in the Irish broker market. The private equity-backed company has made numerous acquisitions over the past number of years, the most recent being the acquisition of Stuart Insurances Ltd, a Dublin-based insurance broker. The two acquisitions will further strengthen Arachas’ position as the go-to broker for Irish SMEs.
Source: Arachas Press Release
Deal Details: An investor group led by CJ Fallon’s management team has purchased the stake held by Levine Leichtman Capital Partners (“LLCP”). Deal consideration has not been disclosed.
CJ Fallon is a leading educational publisher in both print and digital formats to primary and secondary schools throughout Ireland. The company was founded in 1895 and is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. The company does not report turnover or EBITDA.
Levine Leichtman Capital Partners is a private equity and venture capital firm, operating throughout the United States and Europe.
Financial: Arrowpoint Advisory LLP
Legal: McCann Fitzgerald LLP
Renatus Comment: This MBO was led by Brian Gilsenan and John Bodley, both of whom have been with the business for over 14 years. CJ Fallon has had an interesting history having passed hands a total of four times to date with previous owners including Fleming Capital (formerly Boundary Capital), Lonsdale Capital Partners, and Souter Investments. CJ Fallon acquired its former rival, The Celtic Press, in 2014.
Source: Levine Leichtman Capital Partners Press Release
Deal Details: Mainstream Renewable Power to merge with Aker Offshore Winds. Deal consideration has not been disclosed.
Mainstream Renewable Power is an independent developer of utility-scale wind and solar power assets, with a portfolio of over 9 GW of wind and solar assets across Latin America, Africa, Asia Pacific and the offshore wind sector. It was founded in 2008, by Eddie O’Connor and is headquartered in Dublin.
Aker Horizons is the Norwegian controlling shareholder of Mainstream Renewable Power and parent of Aker Offshore Wind. It is part of the industrial investments giant, Aker Group. It was founded by Kjell Inge Røkke and is headquartered in Fornebu, Norway. In FY21 it had a turnover of c. €120.6m.
Advisers: None mentioned.
Renatus Comment: Mainstream Renewable Power received a €1bn investment from Aker Horizons early last year, as well as Japanese conglomerate Mitsui investing €575m in April to obtain a 27.5% shareholding. Oslo-listed Aker Horizons is leading the merger of its 54.4% owned Mainstream Renewable Power with its 100% owned Offshore Wind business. It is expected this merger will create a group worth c. €2.3bn in advance of an IPO. The combined business will have a c. 27 GW portfolio between solar, onshore and offshore wind projects. For comparison, the peak demand for Ireland’s whole energy grid at the moment is approximately 5.5 GW.
Source: Irish Times
Deal Details: Ionic Consulting has been acquired by AFRY. Deal consideration has not been disclosed.
Ionic Consulting is a prominent renewable electricity consultancy firm with a leading presence in the onshore and offshore wind, solar PV, and energy storage markets. The company was established in 2002 and is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. The company does not report turnover or EBITDA.
AFRY is a supplier of engineering, design, and advisory services for the infrastructure, industry, energy, and digitalization sectors globally. The company was founded in 1985 and is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. In FY21 the company reported a turnover of c. €1.98bn and an EBITDA of c. €191m.
Corporate Finance: IBI Corporate Finance led by Laurence O’Shaughnessy
Legal: A Fieldfisher Ireland team led by Feilim O’Caoimh, also including Senior Associate Conor Folan, Trainee Solicitor Rosha Canavan and Employment Partner Barry Walsh.
Legal: A Matheson LLP team led by George Brady, Seán Scally, Rachael Toland-Burke and Chelsey O’Doherty together with Mark O’Sullivan and Edmond James.
Renatus Comment: Ionic Consulting came to be following a management buy-out, where the company re-branded from the name ‘Wind Prospect Ireland’. This latest deal will allow Ionic Consulting, which already has a reported 60% market share in Ireland, to continue its expansion as it benefits from the scale that comes with being part of a larger organisation, with AFRY being a European leader in the space, employing 17,000 experts.
Source: Ionic Press Release
Deal Details: Cpl, based in Dublin, has agreed to acquire German-based Neusta Consulting.
Cpl is headquartered in Dublin and is a global provider of talent solutions including specialist recruitment, managed services, outsourcing and strategic talent advisory services. The business is owned by Tokyo-based Outsourcing Inc. It had FY20 turnover of €569m, which converted to an EBITDA of €28m.
Neusta Consulting is a German IT contracting business. It was founded in 2008 and is led by Gudrun Müller (Managing Director) and Tim Grossmann (Managing Director). The business had FY20 revenues of c. €5m, which converted to an EBITDA of €382k.
Corporate Finance: Translink Corporate Finance.
Renatus Comment: The deal will see Cpl further expand its global presence, with the business already employing over 14,000 people across 13 countries. This deal represents Cpl’s first acquisition since its takeover by Outsourcing Inc in late 2020 for a reported consideration of c. €310m.
Source: Cpl Press Release
Deal Details: Talivest, a Cork-based employee analytics software company, has been acquired by Australian tech unicorn Go1 for an undisclosed sum.
Formerly known as KonnectAgain, Talivest, was founded by Laura Belyea and Jayne Ronayne. Its backers include Dan and Linda Kiely, the Voxpro founders, PCH chief executive Liam Casey, Google Ireland managing director Ronan Harris and Anne Heraty, the CPL founder. The company does not report turnover or EBITDA.
Go1 is one of the world’s largest corporate education content hubs for on-demand training and resources. Go1 announced a $100 million fundraise last month at a $2 billion valuation.
Advisers: None Mentioned
Renatus Comment: Originally focused on helping companies engage with corporate alumni, Talivest has in recent years shifted focus towards assisting firms in the area of employee engagement. Workhuman, a company with a similar focus reached unicorn status in 2020. Listen to the Workhuman story with Barry Moloney on our first Podcast. Barry is Chairman of Workhuman and founder of Balderton Captial.
Source: Business Post
Deal Details: MTM Engineering (“MTM”) the Meath-based data centre cable experts has secured significant new investment from Dutch private equity firm Waterland in a deal reported to be worth €30m.
MTM was founded by Martin and Patricia Mee in 1997 and has built a market leading position in turn-key cable installation and termination services, particularly in the booming data centre market. The company is headed by CEO, Brendan Mee. In 2021, the Company had total sales in excess of €40m, which is up from just €800,000 in 2012
Waterland, founded in 1991, is an independent international private equity investment group. It currently manages over €9bn of investor commitments.
Renatus Comment: MTM is following in the footsteps of companies like H&MV, Mercury Engineering, KN Group and PM Group in becoming a global leader from expertise gained through years of experience in Ireland. MTM has 75% of turnover outside of Ireland and is reportedly looking at several acquisitions which may increase this percentage.
Deal Details: International agri-food group Origin Enterprises reportedly purchased 23,000 of its own ordinary shares at €0.01 each on the Euronext Dublin Stock Exchange. It has purchased over 10 million shares since March at an average price of €3.97 throughout the lifetime of the buyback programme.
Source: Irish Times
Deal Details: DataSolutions has announced a partnership with Cato Networks. Deal details have not been disclosed.
DataSolutions is a value-added distributor of transformational IT solutions. It was founded in 1991 and is led by founding member, Francis O’Haire and Group Managing Director, Michael O’Hara. The business is majority owned by Michael O’Hara and Francis O’Haire. In FY21 the business had a turnover of €68.4m, which converted to an EBITDA of €1.3m.
Cato Networks is a provider of Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). It was founded in 2015 by Shlomo Kramer and is headquartered in Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel. The company does not report turnover or EBITDA information.
Source: Press release
Based in Co. Tipperary with another facility in Co. Clare, Breen’s Farm Machinery Limited is a supplier of new and used tractors and farm equipment.
The business reported FY21 revenue of c. €18.4m which was a 23.8% increase from the previous year. This converted to an EBITDA of c. €1.4m, a 51.2% increase from the previous year.
Significant post-EBITDA cash movements included, a c. €500k investment into working capital and advances to subsidiaries/group companies of c. €331k. The business closed FY21 with a net cash balance of c. €1.4m a year-on-year increase of c. €257k.
The business employed an average of 19 employees throughout FY21 at a cost of c. €956k. Breen’s Farm Machinery is owned entirely by Conor Breen.
Based in Armagh, JMW Farms Limited is focused on pig farming in Ireland and the UK.
JMW Farms Ltd reported FY21 revenue of c. £62.8 m which was a 17.3% increase from the previous year. This converted to an EBITDA of c. £11.1m, with EBITDA growth remaining effectively flat year-on-year. The business’ gross margin was 24.6% in FY21 compared to 28.7% in FY20.
Significant post-EBITDA cash movements included a c. £6.0m purchase of tangible assets, a c. £4.3m purchase of intangible assets. The business closed FY21 with a net cash balance of c. £4.0m, a year-on-year increase of c. £2.6m.
The business employed an average of 145 employees throughout FY21 at a cost of c. £4.2m. JMW Farms is owned by James Wright, Mark Wright, and Andrew Irwin.
Who: ID-Pal, an online verification company that uses a distinctive blend of checks including anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) to verify consumers immediately throughout all channels and jurisdictions.
What: The company has raised €7 million led by Inspire Investments, alongside Act Venture Capital.
Why: The company plans to use the funding to further fuel expansion and meet growing demand.
Source: Irish Times
Who: Asset Class, a financial technology company headquartered in Dublin, with offices in New York and London.
What: The business has raised $11.6m series A funding, led by Canapi Ventures with participation from new and existing investors including Live Oak Ventures, Plexus Capital and TTV Capital.
Why: This will allow Asset Class to expand its employee headcount.
Source: Asset Class Press Release
Who: XFuel Limited, an Irish sustainable energy company that applies its patented technology to transform biomass waste into low-cost, drop-in fuel that can be utilised in road, marine, and aviation applications.
What: The company has raised €8.2 million in funding from backers that include SOSV, a venture capital firm based in Cork.
Why: The funding will enable XFuel to commercialise its low cost, synthetic diesel, marine and jet fuel technology which is produced from biomass waste.
Source: The Business Post
Who: HiiKER, an online platform and app that enables users to find thousands of backpacking and hiking adventures worldwide.
What: The company has raised €500k from Fuel Adventures, Enterprise Ireland, and several private investors.
Why: This investment will be focused on growth and preparation for a US launch in 2023.
Source: HiiKER Press Release
Who: Shackle, an Irish hospitality tech company founded by Mark Abraham.
What: The Company has raised $5.5m in seeding founding which was led by Frontline Ventures.
Why: The funds will be part used to hire more engineers to build out the product futher.
Source: Business Post
Who: Noloco’s “no-code” allows customer portals, internal tools and apps to be created from data in spreadsheets and other sources without requiring businesses to write a line of code.
What: The company rasied €1.4m in a funding round with participation from Sean Mulryan, Guillaume Pousaz and Marc McCabe
Why: The funds will reportedly be used to fund the Company through to a Series A when they expect to have around $100,000 of monthly recurring revenue.
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 euro fell just below parity with the US dollar for a brief period this week. This was the lowest level since 2002. According to @RTEbusiness
The rise in Irish consumer prices in the 12 months to June 2022 – the fastest rate of price growth seen in the Irish economy since 1984. This is also up from 7.8% in the year to May. According to @CSOIreland
The percentage of C-suite roles held by women in Ireland. The data from the World Economic Forum’s 2022 Global Gender Gap Report also shows that 46% of entry-level roles in Ireland are held by women. @IndoBusiness
The assumed decrease in SMEs’ investment in staff during COVID-19. The mean investment fell from €106,000 in 2019 to just over €93,000 in 2020. The median in 2020 was €23,000, down from €30,000 in 2019. @ESRIrbx
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