Monday 21 August 2017

Carlyle Cardinal fund aiming to step up its acquisitions in 2017

Pictured (l-r): Peter Garvey, Managing Director, The Carlyle Group, Brendan Nevin, CEO, the AA Ireland and John Dolan, Managing Director, Cardinal Capital Group. Photo Colm Mahady / Fennell Photography
Pictured (l-r): Peter Garvey, Managing Director, The Carlyle Group, Brendan Nevin, CEO, the AA Ireland and John Dolan, Managing Director, Cardinal Capital Group. Photo Colm Mahady / Fennell Photography
Samantha McCaughren

Samantha McCaughren

Irish private equity fund Carlyle Cardinal Ireland Fund (CCI) is targeting two to three new investments in 2017, as it reaches the mid-point of its funding cycle.

The fund has €150m to invest in around seven more projects in total.

Although there has been some concern over the impact of Brexit on the merger and acquisitions market, CCI continues to see potential both north and south of the Border.

"The pipeline is looking good for next year. We're having conversations with some very interesting companies and would hope to complete two to three further deals during 2017," said Jonathan Cosgrave of the Carlyle Group.

The fund, which is a joint venture between The Carlyle Group and Cardinal Capital, has been very active in the past 24 months completing five new investments in companies including the AA Ireland, Carroll Cuisine and Payzone.

The increased activity reflects the growing understanding of private equity investment among Irish businesses, according to Cosgrave.

"When the Fund was set up, private equity wasn't a common feature of the Irish market but as the largest and most active fund we're increasingly approached by owner managers who want us to help them grow their businesses," he said.

While mid-market deal activity in 2016 looks like being down around 20pc following a particularly strong 2015, Cosgrave is bullish that the €292m fund will continue to find attractive investments.

"Around half of our fund has been invested to date and we'd expect to complete another six to seven investments over the life of the fund."

In recent months, the fund made its first steps across the Border, investing in Learning Pool, the Derry e-learning solutions provider.

An exclusively growth capital fund, which does not back start-ups, CCI aims to double a business within five years.

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