Sunday 18 August 2019

Carlyle Cardinal closes fourth major Irish investment

Abtran boss Michael Fitzgerald with Abtran staff member Andrea Woods. Photo: Conor McCabe Photography.
Abtran boss Michael Fitzgerald with Abtran staff member Andrea Woods. Photo: Conor McCabe Photography.

Donal O'Donovan and Gavin McLoughlin

A State-backed fund has bought the outsourcing firm used by Irish Water and the Revenue to process billing for the household and water charges.

Irish private equity fund Carlyle Cardinal Ireland (CCI) is understood to be paying more than €40m for what is thought to be a majority stake in Abtran.

Cork-based Abtran is best known as the outsourcing company that has won contracts to operate a call centre for Irish Water and to process property tax payments for the Revenue Commissioners.

It began with just six people in 1997 and now employs more than 2,000 staff at offices in Cork and Dublin.

Yesterday Carlyle Group and Cardinal Capital Group, which jointly control CCI, said it has invested an undisclosed sum in the business process management company.

The deal is subject to approval from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and is expected to close in early 2016.

Abtran's management team, including chief executive Michael Fitzgerald and chief operating officer Pat Ryan, will remain in their roles and are investing further as shareholders in the business.

Cardinal managing director John Dolan, Carlyle managing director Peter Garvey, and Cardinal founder Nick Corcoran will join Abtran's board.

Abtran chief executive Michael Fitzgerald said CCI would bring "extensive local and international experience to Abtran which will be of significant strategic benefit to [Abtran] in the future".

Sources close to the situation said the investment in Abtran is the largest yet by CCI, which previously backed a €40m management buyout of Tullamore-based Carroll Cuisine and has investments in cash in transit business GSLS, pay technology business Payzone and chocolate manufacturer Lily O'Brien's.

CCI's €300m Irish investment fund was launched two years ago with backing from the National treasury Management Agency.

Unlike most US backed private equity players currently on the acquisition trail in Ireland, it does not target distressed acquisitions or real estate.

Irish Independent

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