New firm aiming to finance deprived exporters
A Switzerland-based investor, who made a fortune after Limerick bioscience firm Gencell was sold for $150m, is backing a new company that aims to help Irish businesses target exports to the Middle East, India and former Soviet countries.
Richard Hubbard was among the investors in Gencell Biosystems when it was sold in 2014 to US firm Becton Dickinson. The Irish company had only been established three years earlier and had raised €6m from backers including Enterprise Ireland.
Mr Hubbard, a UK native, is now a director of Irish firm Persium plc, which aims to provide export and investment assistance to clients hoping to export to a number of countries for which export-related finance may be typically more difficult to secure.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Persium director Ali Yousefian said that the company is targeting export finance solutions for small to medium-sized companies in the food, pharmaceutical and medical sectors.
He said the company believes that SMEs trying to export to the countries it's dealing with "are not receiving the level of service they merit".
"We are engaged in the discounting of deferred payment Letters of Credit issued by local banks in the region as well as those issued by European banks," he said.
"The level of exports from the European Union to the region and the import of raw materials and finished goods from the region runs into many billions of euros per annum."
He said that Persium will target deal sizes with SMEs of between €1m and €2m.
The company's shareholders include an entity registered in the British Virgin Islands, meaning the owners of that firm can't be identified by public means.
"The company is well funded and is not looking to raise equity capital from the markets in the near future," said Mr Yousefian.
Persium is also likely to assist SMEs targeting to invest in Iran. There's intense investor interest in Iran following the lifting of sanctions against the country in return for it scaling back its nuclear programme.