UK COMPANY BGF has launched a new fund that will make €250 million available to small and medium Irish businesses.
The firm announced today that it will provide initial investments of between €2 million and €10 million in return for a minority stake in a business. It will provide additional funding to investee companies as needed.
It said that the companies it backs will typically be those turning over between €5 million and €100 million a year with strong management teams in place.
BGF is one of the most active SME investors in the UK, claiming it has backed more ‘scale-up companies’ in that market than any other investor.
It said that over the past six years it has invested in nearly 200 businesses in the UK, including technology companies, manufacturers, recycling firms and housebuilders.
BGF was set up by the UK’s five main banks – Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Chartered – as an independent firm to invest in smaller businesses.
The Irish BGF fund is being backed by the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, AIB, Bank of Ireland and BGF’s existing shareholders.
It will be run by a new BGF team based in central Dublin. Leo Casey, a former director and board member with IBI Corporate Finance, will lead the team.
BGF chief executive Stephen Welton said that the financial backing it has received from the likes of AIB and Bank of Ireland “provide a tremendous endorsement”.
“Their investment and support will be crucial to our Irish success,” he said.
Casey said that BGF is looking to get involved with a range of businesses.
“Over the past 20 years, I have worked with many diverse companies here, and many share the same aspirations to grow their company without losing control,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to working with ISIF and the banks to introduce our approach to advisers and intermediaries, and to working directly with entrepreneurs and management teams in leading Irish businesses.”