BDO eye­ing new fund to boost SME sec­tor

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE - Gavin Mclough­lin

BDO is at an early stage of dis­cus­sions for es­tab­lish­ing a suc­ces­sor fund to its De­vel­op­ment Cap­i­tal Fund, the Sun­day In­de­pen­dent un­der­stands.

The €75m fund, set up to in­vest €2m-€10m in prof­itable mid-size com­pa­nies to “sup­port and ac­cel­er­ate their ex­port growth plans”, has had a num­ber of high-pro­file ex­its re­cently.

A new ver­sion would rep­re­sent a sig­nif­i­cant boost for Ire­land’s SME sec­tor.

A spokesman for the BDO De­vel­op­ment Cap­i­tal Fund said it had no com­ment to make.

The fund was an in­vestor in Gal­way-based beauty prod­ucts com­pany Lifes2­good, which sold one of its prod­ucts to US gi­ant Dwight & Church for €150m ear­lier this year.

It was also an in­vestor in soft­ware com­pany Ver­sion 1, ex­it­ing its in­vest­ment when Uk-based pri­vate eq­uity firm Volpi Cap­i­tal — run by Ir­ish­man Cre­van O’grady — in­jected €90m of eq­uity into Ver­sion 1.

The fund, led by in­vest­ment di­rec­tors Sinead Heaney and Andrew Bourg, made an es­ti­mated re­turn of 250pc on that deal.

Com­pa­nies cur­rently in its port­fo­lio in­clude cloud tele­phony com­pany Blue­face, se­cu­rity and sur­veil­lance com­pany Net­watch, tele­coms and util­i­ties ser­vices providers Obelisk, and con­fec­tionery maker Brod­er­ick’s.

Af­ter the Blue­face in­vest­ment, re­vealed by this news­pa­per in March, the fund was ap­prox­i­mately twothirds in­vested, ac­cord­ing to Andrew Bourg. “We’ve got a very strong pipe­line for the rest of the in­vest­ment, we see it be­ing fully in­vested by the lat­ter part of this year,” Bourg said.

“Part of our role is to find the best com­pa­nies and the port­fo­lio is build­ing very, very nicely,” he added.

The fund of­fers in­vestee com­pa­nies the chance to tap into the ex­per­tise of its part­ners, which in­clude Bank of Ire­land, CRH, Glan­bia and En­ter­prise Ire­land.

Each of those com­pa­nies has in­vested in the fund.

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