Friday 15 December 2017

State takes €30m stake in Finance Ireland

Finance Ireland’s Billy Kane
Finance Ireland’s Billy Kane
Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) has invested €30m in one of the country's largest non-bank lender, Finance Ireland.

ISIF will take a 32pc stake in the SME-focused firm that was founded by former Permanent TSB chief executive Billy Kane.

Following the deal, Pimco and ISIF will each have a third of the business, with the balance held by management and other early backers.

ISIF will appoint two directors to the company's board, including ISIF head of private equity Fergal McAleavey. Pimco paid €25m last December for its stake.

Mr Kane said ISIF's backing will underpin its "ambitious growth plans" for the coming years.

With around €100m in equity Finance Ireland has capacity to lend €1bn into the Irish market over the next three years, he said.

"Our mission is to create a major non-bank lender in the Irish financial landscape offering customers a real alternative to the traditional banking sector and we are well on the way to achieving that," Mr Kane said.

The company has hired 40 new staff so far this year, bringing total head count across its asset leasing, agri, auto and commercial real estate (CRE) divisions up to 85.

That number is expected to grow by 30 over the next year and a half.

Its products include car finance, asset finance and leasing and MilkFlex, a €100m fund for dairy farmers, which is backed by ISIF, Rabobank, and Glanbia.

Irish Independent

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