Business Irish

Friday 23 August 2019

Carlyle Cardinal has 'doubled its money' with cash-in-transit deal

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Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Private equity fund Carlyle Cardinal Ireland (CCI) has exited its majority stake in cash-in-transit business General Secure Logistics Services (GSLS) as part of a sale of the business to European fund manager STAR Capital.

CCI, which is part-backed by the State, bought its 51.5pc stake in GSLS in September 2014 in a deal that valued the company at €30m.

The fund is understood to have doubled its money as a result of the agreed sale yesterday and a refinancing last December, that was used to repay shareholder loans.

GSLS is one of the country's biggest cash-in-transit companies.

Since securing backing from CCI it expanded its main Dublin logistics centre from 10,000sq ft to 40,000sq ft. Revenues are understood to have increased from €10.8m to €17m. The business has around 200 staff.

In December the business refinanced shareholder loans via a €20m Bank of Ireland loan, allowing investors to take money off the table.

The STAR Capital deal is understood to be a full exit for the existing investors, led by CCI. The companies declined to specify the price.

GSLS was founded in 2004 and its customers include some of the largest banks, retailers and public-sector organisations in Ireland. In a statement, GSLS said new owner STAR will continue to support the existing management team.

The deal is a second recent exit for CCI, one of the first funds to buy equity in Irish business in the wake of the crash.

In December CCI agreed to sell its stake in the Lily O'Brien's chocolates business to a Polish company for €40m.

The Irish company employs 120 in Newbridge and was bought by Polish group Colian Holdings, which is listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange and produces confectionery and desserts.

Lily O'Brien's was founded by Mary Ann O'Brien in 1992. CCI bought a majority stake in 2014, alongside management, including Mary Ann O'Brien and CEO Eoin Donnelly.

CCI's portfolio also includes payments processing firm Payzone, cooked meats group Carroll Cuisine, AA Ireland and the Sam McCauley chemists shop chain.

The fund has tipped insurance and breakdown cover provider AA Ireland as a potential candidate for a stock market listing, but CCI also has the financial heft to fund bolt-on acquisitions within its portfolio, as well as further primary investments.

Irish Independent

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