Beechbrook Capital launches new fund supporting SMEs in Ireland, backed by ISIF and Certior

Beechbrook Capital, the specialist European lower mid-market lender, has launched a new €35m fund for SMEs in Ireland, with commitments from a number of institutional investors, including €16m each from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) and Certior Capital, a Helsinki-based European private credit manager (Certior).

With additional investments to the fund already pledged, including conditional approval for a further €4m from each of ISIF and Certior, Beechbrook expects to hold further closes through 2019 with a target fund size of up to €100m.

The fund will be managed from Beechbrook Capital’s new Irish headquarters in Cork city and will target fast-growing SMEs that have a turnover of between €3m and €25m and EBITDA of more than €1m. The Fund will have a particular focus on the regions and regional growth hubs throughout Ireland. Beechbrook has also opened a new office in Dublin to enhance the ability of SMEs throughout Ireland to access the fund.

The fund builds on Beechbrook's existing European private debt fund strategies, which invest in lower mid-market private equity-backed businesses in northern Europe and non-private equity-backed businesses in the UK. The existing private debt funds have raised over €750m to date.

The new fund will provide mainly senior secured loans to Irish SMEs that are seeking funding to support growth plans, acquisitions, buy-outs, shareholder re-alignments and domestic and overseas expansion plans.

The Beechbrook Ireland SME Credit Fund has a highly experienced management team, co-headed by David Merriman and John O’Sullivan. David brings over 30 years of relevant experience from Bank of Ireland. His most recent roles were Head of Enterprise Development for Ireland and Regional Manager, South West. He has a wide and deep business and institutional network in Cork, Munster and beyond. David is based in Cork.

John has 17 years of relevant experience including 10 years at Enterprise Ireland, where he was a Senior Vice-President, co-managing the Direct Investment Fund, with responsibility for a large portfolio of debt and equity investments in Irish, UK and US SMEs. He is based in Dublin.

David and John are supported by Cork-based Associate Directors, Conor O’Callaghan and Alan O’Dea, and a Compliance Manager, Denise McCarthy. Beechbrook Ireland also benefits from the support services of the wider Beechbrook organisation.

Beechbrook managing partner, Nick Fenn, said:

“The Beechbrook Ireland SME fund is a natural evolution for Beechbrook. We are pioneering this type of funding to Irish SMEs. We have received numerous requests for it from family and manager-owned businesses around the country, which are acutely aware of the shortage of long-term development and expansion finance currently available.

“The Beechbrook investment team brings great experience of the Irish SME market and a wealth of relationships. We look forward to playing a constructive role in helping fund the growth of small and medium-sized businesses in Ireland.

Donal Murphy, Senior Investment Director, ISIF said:

“The Beechbrook Ireland SME fund is an excellent addition to our range of funding for indigenous Irish SMEs. As a Cork-based fund, Beechbrook has chosen to target and prioritise investments in the Regions. This regional base and focus are entirely consistent with one of ISIF’s priority themes of investing commercially to support regional development.”

Timo Hara, Partner, Certior said:

“The Beechbrook Ireland SME fund is a great addition to our portfolio of local champion SME direct lenders across Europe. It is our conviction that supporting high quality managers to raise funds in order to finance SME growth initiatives is compelling, particularly in undercapitalised sub-sectors of the European market. Beechbrook’s Irish strategy is especially distinctive thanks to its Cork HQ and its regional Irish focus.

Ireland Strategic Investment Fund