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Duke exits Berkley investment with profit

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Berkley is a specialist recruiter for the Irish pharmaceutical and tech sectors.

Berkley is a specialist recruiter for the Irish pharmaceutical and tech sectors.

Berkley is a specialist recruiter for the Irish pharmaceutical and tech sectors.

UK investment group Duke Royalty has exited its investment in Irish firm Berkley Recruitment, generating a 16pc return.

Duke’s investment in Cork-based Berkley was inherited via the UK firm’s acquisition of Capital Step in early 2019.

Capital Step had helped to finance a management buyout of Berkley in 2017. The Cork firm is a specialist recruiter for the Irish pharmaceutical and tech sectors.

Duke said it has received €1.3m in net cash on closing the sale of its stake in Berkley, resulting in an internal rate of return of 16pc.

Berkley chief executive Arthur Griffin said the capital from Duke had been “instrumental in facilitating Berkley’s buyout, whilst keeping ownership and control in the management team’s hands”.

Neil Johnson, the CEO of Duke Royalty, said that the group appreciated the “resilient operating performance” delivered by the Berkley team during the pandemic.

The latest set of publicly available accounts for the company behind Berkley Recruitment, Almondclose, show that it generated a loss of about €330,000 in 2019.

Before last Christmas, Duke Royalty exited its investment in Irish telecoms and IT services firm Welltel, generating a 27pc return.

UK private equity firm Livingbridge said at the time that it has invested in Welltel, which has about 3,500 clients including Permanent TSB, Zurich, Specsavers and Northern Ireland Water. Livingbridge said it intends to support Welltel in further acquisition activity.

Welltel was the single largest investment in Duke Royalty’s portfolio.

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Duke Royalty bankrolled a number of acquisitions made by Welltel, including the Irish company’s purchase last August of Irish firm Intellicom.

It also supported its €3m acquisition of Kildare-based ICT firm Novi for €3m in July last year.

Last November, Duke Royalty provided funds that enabled Isle of Man-based Step Investments to boost its stake in the company behind Irish educational venues including the well-known Ashfield College grind school in south Dublin.

Steps Investments is a holding company for businesses in advertising, education and hospitality. Its City Education and Learning Group subsidiary owns four private educational facilities in Dublin.


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