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Welltel gets £2.3m from Duke Royalty to fund Novi acquisition

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'Welltel, which employs more than 70 people, is headed by chief executive and co-founder Ross Murray.' (stock image)

'Welltel, which employs more than 70 people, is headed by chief executive and co-founder Ross Murray.' (stock image)

'Welltel, which employs more than 70 people, is headed by chief executive and co-founder Ross Murray.' (stock image)

Welltel, a Dublin-based telephony, network and connectivity solutions provider, has received an additional £2.3m (€2.5m) in backing from AIM-listed finance firm Duke Royalty.

The money will be used by Welltel to help bankroll the acquisition of Irish firm Globalnet Solutions, which trades as Novi.

Duke Royalty said that Novi has been operating profitably for many years, "with a strong corporate customer base with fast-growing levels of contracted, recurring revenue".

With offices in Dublin, Kildare and Cork, Novi is a managed IT services and security company. It made a profit of €110,000 in its 2018 financial year. Its clients include Flynn Construction, Yahoo, Intel and UCD.

The latest investment by Duke Royalty brings to £10.5m (€11.6m) the total invested by the UK vehicle in Welltel. The British firm will be entitled to distributions of approximately £1.4m a year beginning in July, representing a proforma cash yield of 13.2pc on Duke's total invested capital in the Irish telephony firm.

Duke Royalty has now invested in Welltel four times since 2017, helping to support the Irish firm's acquisition strategy.

"Welltel has grown to be one of the largest technology service providers in Ireland, with over 3,000 enterprise clients," it noted.

Neil Johnson, the chief executive of Duke Royalty, said the investment firm has developed a strong relationship with Welltel's executive team.

"Our ability to grow in step with Welltel, as it continues to pursue sensibly priced, strategic M&A alongside organic growth, is a highly attractive feature of our funding, whilst the company's recurring, contracted and diversified earnings base serves as a great fit for our royalty model," he said.

Welltel, which employs more than 70 people, is headed by chief executive and co-founder Ross Murray.

Its shareholders include tech veteran Maurice Healy, who now heads software group Glantus.

Other backers are John Quinn - the co-founder of careers website Jobbio - and John Ryan, who was involved in Mr Healy's former Calyx technology services firm and remains heavily involved in the tech scene.

Novi is owned by George O'Dowd. He worked in infrastructure project management at chip giant Intel before founding Novi in 1999.

Irish Independent