InsightsNewsletterRenatus’ Weekly M&A Newsletter – 27/02/2022

Renatus’ Weekly M&A Newsletter – 27/02/2022

renatus logo

Dear Reader,

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

Thought for the Week

Former British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, was once asked what the most troubling problem of his Prime Ministership was. ‘Events, my dear boy, events,’ was his reply.

The awful events in Ukraine are clearly going to be the biggest influence on macro economic stability this year and beyond. Nonetheless, lost in the noise this week may have been the launch of the Public Debt report.

The feeling is we are nearly out of the Covid 19 woods and other than the geopolitical storm and hopefully transitory extreme inflation our economy is fine. A few stats from the report are sobering and remind us that the foundations of our current national balance sheet may not be as sound as many assume.

•    The national debt stood at €237bn at the end of last year.
•    €33bn was added during the pandemic (nearly as much as the net cost of bank bailouts).
•    This €47k per head is one of the highest per capita debt figures in the world and our relative standing in debt terms is often flattered by GDP figures inflated by US multinational activity.

Let’s hope the unexplainable windfalls in corporation tax prevail for the years ahead to help put manners on this debt.

Our view is market leaders with low debt will prevail regardless of any macro shock but it is definitely a time to have one eye on the macro climate as we drive on our various businesses.

M&A Activity

Viatel acquires WiFiber

viatel-logo

Deal Details: The Viatel Group has acquired Wicklow-based Wifiber Limited. The deal details were not disclosed.

Viatel is a leading independent, Irish-owned provider of connectivity, cloud, and security solutions. Specifically, Viatel has deep strengths in servicing the healthcare, financial services, and education sectors. The group employs over 265 people across Ireland with locations in Dublin, Dundalk, Cork, and Limerick. Viatel is 100% owned by Digiweb, which is ultimately owned by Colm Piercy of Chirisa Investments alongside Quay Ventures. Post-acquisition, Viatel’s revenues are expected to exceed €65m in 2022.

WiFiber is a leading connectivity and communicationss service provider with its head office in Co.Wicklow. The company was founded in 2016 by Nikki Thullier, its current CEO. It provides a range of connectivity services to both business and consumers across both urban and rural areas. The company had net assets of €1.35m at June 2020.

Advisers:Buy-Side:
Legal: Venture Legal Services provided legal advice
Deal advisory: AIB Capital Markets, who are supporting Viatel’s expansion strategy.

Sell-Side:
Legal: James Cahill from Montgomery solicitors.
Renatus Comment: Viatel has now completed five acquisitions in the last 18 months, including Ripplecom, Irish Telecom, Nova Telecom, and Skytel Networks. Viatel is seeking to establish scale and market position through targeted M&A. It is traditionally a fragmented market but Viatel and Welltell are both pursing acquisitions and consolidating the market.

Source: Viatel Press Release

MBO of Abbey Wealth Management

abbeywealth-logo

Deal Details: Abbey Wealth Management has completed an MBO. Deal terms were not disclosed.

Established in 2007 by founders Adrian Grove, Calvin Thomas and Liam Speake, Abbey offers retirement planning, investment advice and financial planning for internationally mobile clients, primarily in Europe. It is reported that the business has over €897m (£750m) assets under advice and over 3,500 clients.

Chief executive Victor France, who joined Abbey Wealth in 2014, led the management buyout. It plans to double its current portfolio of assets under advice within five years by targeting Irish citizens based in the EU, which currently account for only 30 to 40 of its 3,500 clients, as well as expats based in the Republic. The MBO was backed by AIB.

Advisers: Buy-side: Deal Advisory: Clearwater, led by John Sheridan with support from John Devine and Daniel Lavelle advised the shareholders of Abbey Wealth.

From our deal tracker database, this is the 12th transaction Clearwater have advised on in the last 12 months.

Buy-side: Mazars, led by Mark Mulcahy, Anthony Shiel and Alex Shamley, provided financial due diligence advice to the MBO team.

Renatus Comment: Including TEAM Accessories and Brightwater, this is the third business in today’s newsletter that has completed an MBO. It always pleases us to see MBO teams stepping up and taking over the business they have worked so hard to build, and also providing an orderly exit to business owners. We have supported several MBOs and believe that they can be a win-win deal for all involved.

Source: Irish Times

Kingspan acquires Troldtekt

kingspan

Deal Details: Kingspan Group plc has announced the acquisition of Danish-based Troldtekt A/S. Deal details were not disclosed.

Kingspan, headquartered in Kingscourt, Co. Cavan, is a global leader in high-performance insulation and building materials solutions. Kingspan Group reported FY21 turnover of c. €6.5bn and EBITDA of c. €893m. The business is led by CEO Gene Murtagh.

Troldtekt A/S designs, develops, and manufactures acoustic panels. The company was founded in 1855 and is based in Tranbjerg, Denmark. The company has a state-of-the-art, almost zero carbon manufacturing production facility. The company is led by CEO, Peer Leth. The company had FY20 revenues of €54.6m, with a net income of €6.66m.

Advisers:
Buy-Side:
Legal: Clifford Chance provided legal advice to Kingspan.

Sell-Side:
Deal Advisory: Clearwater International advised Troldtekt.

Renatus Comment: This is Kingspan’s second acquisition in as many weeks, having announced its acquisition of Ondura Group last week. As outlined in its annual report, the company has committed €800m to three transactions this year, with last week’s Ondura deal accounting for €500m of this. The common theme across the acquisitions is an aim to reduce carbon emissions. Troldtekt operates from a net zero carbon manufacturing facility. Over the past 12 months, Kingspan’s share price is up c. 44% at €88, having peaked at €107 in December.

Source: Kingspan

Focus Scientific Solutions acquired by Lennox

LENNOX LOGO

Deal Details: Irish scientific and medical solutions business, Lennox, has acquired Focus Scientific Solutions, a Meath-based laboratory equipment supplier. The deal consideration was not disclosed.

Lennox (Laboratory Supplies Limited) was founded in 1923 and specialises in supplying scientific, industrial, and laboratory goods. Lennox serves the pharma, bioprocessing, food and beverage, medical devices, life science, healthcare, and education sectors. The business reported a turnover of c. €44.5m in 2020, an increase from c. €13.5m the previous year. It has offices in both Dublin and Cork and employed 52 people in 2020.

Focus Scientific Solutions was founded in 2007 and provides an extensive range of specialist and general laboratory equipment, with a portfolio of products ranging from small laboratory apparatus to high-tech R&D test equipment. The business employed a total of 17 people in 2020 and was owned by Liam Coughlan and Mike O’Connor prior to the transaction.

Advisers:
Sell-side:
Legal: Ronan Daly Jermyn (RDJ) advised Focus Scientific Solutions. The RDJ transaction team included Diarmaid Gavin, Mark Barrett and Mark Ludlow.

Buy-side:
Deal Advisory: Barry Madden of Focus Capital advised Lennox on the acquisition.

Renatus Comment: Lennox appears to have been a winner from the Covid-19 pandemic. Prior to 2020, the business had an impressive list of blue-chip clients in the medical, pharma, and food sectors and consistently recorded revenues between €12m-€16m. When the Covid 19 pandemic hit, the business quickly began supplying PPE and other Covid related solutions to sectors that hadn’t demanded these products in the past, this includes the likes of schools, law firms, accountancy practices, tech companies, etc. As a result, Lennox’s revenues jumped to almost €45m in 2020 (+3x its FY19 revenue). While this has been an outstanding year for Lennox, it will be interesting to see how much of this growth will remain as Ireland and the world transitions back toward normality.

Source: Lennox

Caretower acquired by Integrity360

INTEGRITY360logo

Deal Details: Dublin-headquartered cybersecurity firm Integrity360 has acquired Caretower for an undisclosed sum.

Founded in 2005 and with a presence internationally, including the US and UK, Integrity360 is one of the largest cyber security specialists in Ireland. The business provides a comprehensive suite of professional, support and managed cyber security services. The business was founded Group President Eoin Goulding.

Caretower is a UK-based cybersecurity services provider. For the 2021 calendar year Caretower reported sales of c. £28m and operates from offices in London and Sofia, Bulgaria.

Advisers: None mentioned.

Renatus Comment: In June 21, Integrity360 received a major investment from London-based private equity firm August Equity as part of a significant growth and expansion plan to build the brand internationally. This acquisition provides Integrity360 with an immediate presence, team and customer base in the UK from which to lever growth. The enlarged group is expected to generate revenues of c. €85m (£70m) in 2022. Targeted acquisitions can be a successful strategy to really accelerate international growth plans and we are speaking with several Irish businesses about funding acquisitions in the UK. Reach out if you would like to chat about funding/supporting growth by domestic or international acquisition.

Source: Integrity360

TEAM Accessories acquired by Moog Inc

TEAM-accessories-logo

Deal Details: Dublin-based aerospace company TEAM Accessories has been acquired by Moog Inc for an undisclosed sum.

Founded in 1995, TEAM is a leading aerospace and industrial engineering business specializing in Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) of engine and airframe components. Its current customers include Aero Norway, Aer Lingus, and Lufthansa. The business currently employs 40 people.

Moog Inc, an American-based business that trades on the NYSE, is a worldwide designer, manufacturer, and integrator of precision control components and systems. Moog’s high-performance systems control commercial aircraft, satellites and space vehicles, launch vehicles, automated industrial machinery, marine and medical equipment.

Advisers:
Buy-side:
Legal: Simmons & Simmons in Dublin with a team of David Brangam, Christine Quigley, Geoffrey Curran, Colin Reynolds, Patricia McCarvill, Martin Phelan, Peter McKeever and Ruth Crawley.

Sell-side:Deal Advisory: Grant Thornton, led by Gareth Cosgrove and Bruce Waldron provided corporate finance advice, while Courtney Cullen and Emer Dowling from Grant Thornton provided tax advice.
Legal: Fieldfisher, led by Feilim O’Caoimh advised BGF while Eavan Saunders and Ciaran O’Boyle from Dentons provided legal advice to the management team.

Renatus Comment: TEAM was acquired by Pat McEvoy and Tom Gibbons in an MBO in 2017. In 2019, it took in a €5m PE investment from BGF for a minority stake. It also strengthened its board with the addition of former Executive Chairman of Gardner Aerospace Nick Sanders as Non-Executive Chairman, and Michael Hickey, former COO of Ryanair plc also joining the Board as a Non-Executive Director.

Source: Moog, BGF Ireland

Aston Lark acquires Marine & General Insurances

ASTONLARK

Deal Details: Aston Lark Ireland has announced the acquisition of Dublin-based Marine and General Insurances. The deal consideration was not disclosed. Completion is subject to regulatory approval.

Aston Lark is a UK-based chartered insurance broker backed by Goldman Sachs. Aston Lark was formed in 2018 when two of the UK’s largest independent insurance brokers came together: Aston Scott Group and Lark Group. Aston Lark is soon to be acquired by Howden, a global insurance broking group that announced plans to acquire Aston Lark in October 2021.

Marine and General Insurances, trading as Clondalkin Mortgage Centre was founded in 1972 and specialises in financial services and general insurance. The business is based in Dublin and reported turnover of c. €1.2m in 2020 and employed 14 people. The business is led by Colm Tyndall and Gavin Kennedy.

Advisers: None mentioned.

Renatus Comment: The insurance sector consolidation continues at pace into 2022. Financial services were the most reported sector in our newsletter in 2021 and insurance deals were the most reported subheading within that sector. The main players in the sectors consolidation include Aston Lark, Arachas, and Innovu. Check out our 2021 M&A report here.

Source: Aston Lark

Velopi LTD acquired by Educate 360

VELOPI logo--jpg

Deal Details: Irish-based project management and consultancy services provider, Velopi Ltd, has been acquired by Boston-based Educate 360 Professional Training. Deal details were not disclosed.

Velopi LTD operates a platform through which it offers project management courses. The company was incorporated in 2007 and is based in Kinsale, Ireland. Velopi’s training courses are designed to support project managers from their first ventures into the area through to professional accreditation. Prior to the deal, the business was wholly owned by CEO, Seamus Collins, and Operations Director, Aisling Walsh. As of April 2021, the business had net assets of €144k.

Educate 360, LLC offers professional training and courses for organizations. The company is based in Boston, USA. The business’ ultimate parent is Morgan Stanley Capital Partners.

Advisers: None mentioned.

Renatus Comment: Like Integrity360’s acquisition of the  Caretower this deal provides a similar strategic outcome for Educate 360. It is a bolt-on acquisition that provides Educate 360 with immediate market access, new customer relationships and a catalogue of training courses that can be rolled out across its wider business. Educate 360 is private equity backed and this is its second acquisition in the last 12 months, following its acquisition of US-based Pierian Data in May 2021.

Source: Educate 360 Press Release

Glen Dimplex acquires SmarterDM

glen dimplex

Deal Details: Irish heating and industrial group, Glen Dimplex, has acquired UK-based energy software business, SmarterDM. The deal consideration was not disclosed.

Glen Dimplex is an Irish-based consumer electrical goods firm headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. The company is privately held, majority by the Naughton family, with manufacturing and development centres in the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom, China and many other locations around the world. While consolidated group accounts are not published, total group revenue is estimated to be between €1-€2bn.

SmarterDM is a software business that focuses on helping businesses to control their energy consumption. A total of 15 software engineers from the SmarterDM team will join Glen Dimplex post-transaction.

Advisers: None mentioned.

Renatus Comment: Glen Dimplex is one of the iconic Irish business success stores. Founded by Martin Naughton in 1973, it started out as a seven-man operation in County Down before becoming the world’s largest electrical-heating business. Through its own R&D and shrewd acquisitions, it has built a portfolio of household consumer brands, including Morphy Richards, Belling, Roberts Radio, etc. Unusual for a company of its size and vintage in Ireland, it has managed to stay private and still deliver exceptional international growth.

Source: Irish Times

Benchling acquires Overwatch Research

OVERWATCH

Deal Details: US-based R&D cloud software giant, Benchling has announced the acquisition of Belfast-based biopharma software business, Overwatch Research. The deal consideration was not disclosed.

Benchling is based in San Francisco, USA, and provides a range of applications and platforms to businesses operating in the life science and biotechnology sectors. The business is backed by Sequoia Capital. Benchling was founded in 2021 by Ashu Singhal and current CEO, Sajith Wickramasekara. The business’s revenue reportedly exceeded €50m in 2020.

Overwatch Research was founded by Graham Wilsdon, Chris Armstrong (CEO), and Paul Wilsdon in 2017. The business provides software to businesses carrying out preclinical research. Overwatch’s latest accounts show the business employing a total of 6 people in 2021, all of which will join the Benchling team post-transaction.

Advisers: None mentioned.

Renatus Comment: These two businesses have very similar founding stories and appear to be a great fit. Both Benchling and Overwatch were founded after the founding teams expressed frustration around relying on traditional pen and paper methods to track research in laboratories and both businesses have built industry-leading solutions. This acquisition, which is Benchling’s first, will deepen Benchling’s product offering, allowing them to provide services to preclinical research labs as well as giving them a stronger presence in Europe.

Overwatch was backed by Invest NI’s Ignite accelerator programme shortly after the business was founded. Unfortunately, due to the loss of EU funding and budget restrictions, Invest NI’s Ignite accelerator programme is no longer operational. This will be a big loss to the early stage funding ecosystem in Northern Ireland. Hopefully a solution will be found soon to plug the gap.

Source: Forbes

Alternatives joins Brightwater

Alternatives-New-Logo

Deal Details: Dublin-based recruiter Alternatives is joining the Brightwater Group.

Founded in 2000, Alternatives provide interim & contract, permanent recruitment, and executive search services, in the marketing and digital space. The business will continue to operate as a standalone brand, with its own bespoke, specialist marketing and digital team, but will benefit from the support of the wider Brightwater Group.

Brightwater Recruitment, with offices in Dublin, Cork and Belfast, recruit for a range of professionals across industries in Ireland.

Advisers:
Sell-side:
Deal Advisory: Bay Advisory, led by Brian McDonald and Rory Butler acted for Alternatives.

Renatus Comment: This deal follows Brightwater’s acquisition of Vantage Resource in October last year and is Brightwater’s third acquisition that we have reported on since its MBO in 2018. The business continues to be backed by UK alternative lender Duke Royalty, who provided a reported £4.2m of follow-on funding to the business to support its acquisition of Vantage.
There has been significant recent M&A activity in the recruitment sector in recent years, the most notably of which was the acquisition of CPL by Japanese group Outsourcing Inc for a reported c. €318m in late 2020.

Source: Alternatives

AVI-SPL acquires Sonics AVI

AVI

Deal Details: AVI-SPL has announced that it will acquire Dublin-based Sonics AVI. The deal is expected to close this week. No consideration details have been disclosed.

AVI-SPL is a provider of collaboration and audio video technologies, and managed AV services to businesses and organizations. In 2020 the business was acquired by US private equity fund Marlin Equity Partners, who subsequently merged the business with its existing portfolio company n Audio Fidelity Comms. The combined business has estimated annual revenues of c. $1.3bn.

Sonics AVI designs integrates and supports audio visual solutions which enable your business to meet and collaborate effectively and deliver your marketing message with impact. The business is owned 50/50 by Steven McKenna and Tracy Power.

Advisers: None mentioned.

Renatus Comment: Throughout the pandemic, employees across Ireland have adapted to working from home and transacting business through video conferencing, but with Covid 19 restrictions lifted many have returned to the office. Going forward we are likely to experience a rise in hybrid meetings where some participants are in a room together and some are connecting via video. Sonics is likely to experience a rise in demand for its services as companies want seamless solutions to drive efficiency of these meeting and take advantage of the latest technology.

Source: Sonic AVI

Silver Stream Healthcare acquires Cork Nursing Home

SILVER STREAM

Deal Details: Nursing home group Silver Stream Healthcare has acquired Cork-based nursing home Ballincurring Residential Care Centre. It is reported that the property was acquired for €6.2m.

Silver Stream Healthcare is majority owned by private equity firm Waterland, after a 2019 investment by the PE firm. It is reported that Ballincurring Residential Care Centre will be run by Silver Stream in conjunction with Care Property Invest, a Belgian-listed healthcare property investor.

Ballincurring Residential Care Centre was owned by Elaine O’Donovan and Margaret McGrath.

Advisers: None mentioned.

Renatus Comment: Nursing homes is one of the most active sectors in our newsletter over the last couple of years, with several active buyers in the market pursuing buy-and-build strategies. Other buyers include Opera Group, IMMAC, Care Choice, Aedifica, among others.

Source: LinkedIn

Company Performance

glenisk

Cordagrove Limited, the holding company of Glenisk, is one of Ireland’s largest dairy brands. The business produces milk and yoghurt products with a focus on organic, Irish sourced ingredients. Glenisk was founded by the Cleary family in 1987 in Killeigh, Offaly.

The business reported a turnover of c. €27.8m, a 15.4% increase from FY19, which converted to an EBITDA of c. €2.7m, representing a 43.4% increase from FY19. Significant post EBITDA cash flows included working capital investment of c. €1.7m, payments to acquire fixed assets of c. €280k, and tax of c. €418k. Cordagrove finished FY20 with a net cash balance of c. €5.6m, an increase in c. €446k from FY19.
​​​​​​
Cordagrove employed an average of 79 people throughout 2020 at a cost of c. €5.2m. The business is majority-owned and controlled by the founding Cleary family.

In September 2021, the business suffered a major blow when its production facility in Tullamore Co Offaly was destroyed in a fire. It was reported at the time that all production facilities at the plant had been lost. Thankfully, the plant reopened production in early February 2022.

GLENISK FIGS
metacompliance

Metacompliance Limited has developed a cloud-based platform that includes policy management, privacy, eLearning, simulated phishing, and risk management. UK-based private equity firm Tenzing, acquired a majority stake in the business in 2021. The business continues to be led by CEO, Robbie O’Brien.

In its financial year to March 2021, the business had turnover of £9.2m, an increase of 33.9% year-on-year, which converted to an EBITDA of £2.7m, an increase of 257.8% year-on-year.

The business finished the year with a cash balance of c. £6.5m, an increase of c. £4.1m year-on-year. The business employed an average of 111 people at an annual cost of c. £5.6m.

META FIGS

Fundraisings

WhoThe Solas Sustainable Energy Fund ICAV (SSEF) will focus on providing funding to energy service companies in connection with energy efficiency projects. This will allow these companies to offer financing solutions and deferred payment plans to individual households and businesses that undertake energy enhancement projects using technologies including better heating/cooling, rooftop solar, insulation and LED lighting.

What: The fund has raised €20m from the Irish Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), alongside the European Investment Bank, MEAG, the asset manager of the Munich Re group and IDEAL insurance. Its first close is at €140m, with a target size of €200m.

Why: The investment supports the objectives of the Irish Climate Action Plan to reduce the emissions from different infrastructures and make Irish homes and businesses more energy-efficient.

SourceISIF

Who: Optifly, a software platform for airlines to optimise flying routes. The business is led by CEO Steven Kearney.

What: It is reported that the business recently raised funding from Cross Refrigeration founder Ken Keating and Pat Barry, founder of school management software business VSware.

Martin Black from BKK provided strategic fundraising advice to Optifly.

Why: Not specifically reported but expected to be for funding continued growth.

Source: Sunday Times

Who: Yatta, a white-label financial management tool that customers of banks and financial services companies can use to organises their finances a better. The business was founded in April 2020 by Alan Quinlan, Colm McLoughlin, and Johnny Kane.

What: It is reported that the business has taken in investment from Cornmarket financial services chairman, Roddy Murphy, and Aon Assessments’ David Barrett.

Why: Not specifically reported but expected to be for funding continued growth.

Source: Sunday Times

Who: Dash Burger, an independent burger restaurant set up by restaurant entrepreneur Barry Wallace.

What: It is reported that Irish rugby player James Ryan has invested into the venture and holds an 11% stake of the holding company behind the casual dining venture.

Why: Not specifically reported but expected to be for funding continued growth.

Source: Sunday Times

Executive and Board Appointments

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.

Stephen McGivern

STEPHEN

Source:
(Google Images & LinkedIn)

INTACT
STEPH MCG BIO

Roger Casey

ROGER

Source:
(Google Images & LinkedIn)

HRI
ROGER BIO

Enda McGuiness

ENDA

Source:
(Google Images & LinkedIn)

INVESTWISE LOGO
ENDA MCG BIO

Paul Carty

PAUL C

Source:
(Google Images & LinkedIn)

filte ireland
PAUL CARTY BIO

Lory Kehoe

LORY

Source:
(Google Images & LinkedIn)

coinbase
LORY BIO

@RenatusCapital Tweets

11%

The year-on-year growth in the value of land deals in Ireland for 2021, representing a total value of €648 million. According to @SavillsIreland . @RTEbusiness

55.8

The IHS Markit’s Flash Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index for the European zone as of February 2022, up from 52.3 in January. A score above 50 indicates growth. @RTEbusiness

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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