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Duke Royalty to loan €25m in Ireland over first quarter

Royalty lender plans to up its stake in 'attractive' Irish market, writes Sean Pollock

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UK-Llisted speciality lender Duke Royalty wants to invest up to €25m of capital into the Irish market over the course of the first quarter of this year. (stock photo)

UK-Llisted speciality lender Duke Royalty wants to invest up to €25m of capital into the Irish market over the course of the first quarter of this year. (stock photo)

UK-Llisted speciality lender Duke Royalty wants to invest up to €25m of capital into the Irish market over the course of the first quarter of this year. (stock photo)

UK-Llisted speciality lender Duke Royalty wants to invest up to €25m of capital into the Irish market over the course of the first quarter of this year.

The lender, which is headed up by Canadian-born Neil Johnson, acquired an investment portfolio of Irish companies following its purchase of finance company Capital Step last year.

Duke Royalty offers royalty-based lending, a form of loan which can see investors paid back an agreed percentage of income, which changes each year, depending on the company's performance.

Rael Sarembock, vice-president of Duke Royalty and co-founder of Capital Step, confirmed the company had plans to invest €25m in Ireland, with ambitions to at least double its Irish investments over the course of the year. He said the company hopes to be one of the more significant investors in small and medium-sized businesses in the country.

"Roughly half of our portfolio is in Ireland or has an interest in Ireland," Sarembock said.

"We are a serious investor in Ireland; we see it as a very attractive opportunity and place for us to do business. We've now got a very strong network of both portfolio companies and relationships in the corporate finance community."

Sarembock said Duke Royalty's portfolio of Irish firms, which includes telecommunications company Welltel and recruiter Brightwater, employs around 1,000 people. He said the company also hopes to announce a new Irish investment in the first half of February.

Last week, Duke Royalty announced it had made a follow-on £7.7m (€8m) investment into the group behind Brightwater, which was used by the firm to acquire life sciences recruiter PE Global.

The acquisition, which was reported as being worth €9.1m in the Irish Independent, was also supported by Bank of Ireland.

Earlier this month, Duke Royalty also announced that it had completed a £2m follow-on investment into Welltel, which brought its total stake in the company to £8.1m.

The entire facility in Welltel, which was acquired from Capital Step, was recently refinanced under Duke Royalty's terms. The proceeds of the refinancing were used by Welltel to acquire Invistech, a long-established and profitable IT managed service and telecommunications business.

Ross Murray, chief executive of Welltel, said the move would allow the business to enter the managed IT and security market. The acquisition will offer Welltel the opportunity to cross-sell into Invistech's 450-strong customer base in Ireland.

According to Duke Royalty's latest portfolio update, the investor has an additional £31m of liquidity available for new deployments.

Sunday Indo Business