For a private sector company, Malin has a lot of public money
Published 24/06/2016 | 02:30
So why have the State and the European Investment Bank decided to back a publicly-listed company?
The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund's (ISIF) predecessor is the National Pensions Reserve Fund, and its objective is to "invest on a commercial basis in a manner designed to support economic activity and employment in Ireland".
There's obviously a benefit for sovereign funds funnelling their cash through companies such as Malin, which have the expertise necessary to assess potential investments. But equally, having stumped up €50m to back Malin, there's an argument that such funds should be channelled directly by the State to Irish companies from existing agencies such as Enterprise Ireland.
After all, to date, just four of the investment firms targeted by Malin are based in Ireland.
Effectively, the State has so far backed more businesses in the US through Malin. So it's natural to wonder why, when Malin has invested the bulk of its cash abroad, why ISIF has backed the investment vehicle so heavily?
ISIF insisted last year that its investment in Malin was consistent with ISIF's mandate to seek both a commercial return and a significant economic impact from investments it makes. That may yet come to pass.