Statements & Blogs

9 Jun - ​BGF makes first appointment in Republic of Ireland

Leo Casey to head up Irish operation for BGF

Friday 9th June 2017 – Dublin: BGF, the UK’s most active investor in growing companies, has expanded its investment team into the Republic of Ireland with the appointment of Leo Casey who will officially join in September.

Leo joins from IBI Corporate Finance where he was a director and board member. Based in Dublin, he has more than 17 years’ experience and knowledge of the Irish mid-market, helping Irish owner managed and family businesses secure growth capital and unlock value. Last year Leo completed significant deals on behalf of Ireland’s Americk Packaging, Arconics and Retail InMotion. Before IBI, Leo worked at Dresdner Kleinwort Benson in Paris, and began his career at PwC in Dublin.

Leo will lead BGF’s Dublin office, with responsibility for identifying, investing and supporting businesses throughout the Republic of Ireland with a requirement for longer-term and patient capital to support growth plans. Initially, Leo will be working closely with existing BGF team members, David Gammie and Paddy Graham, but efforts to grow a local Dublin-based team will follow in alignment with increased investment and involvement in the Republic of Ireland. BGF’s success to date has been on the back of a very local approach, close to the companies it invests in.

Unlike a traditional private equity firm, BGF provides long-term equity funding in exchange for a minority stake in companies looking to scale-up their operations, with a flexible approach allowing it back a wide variety of companies at different stages of their growth. An independent investment company, BGF is already backing the growth plans of nearly 200 entrepreneur and family owned businesses across the whole of the UK, including technology companies, manufacturers, recycling firms, housebuilders, and retail chains.

Earlier this year, BGF announced a £5m investment in Renegade Spirits Ireland, a whiskey distillery in Waterford and co-invested with Medite, Ireland’s largest MDF producer, to help fund the world’s first Tricoya wood chip factory. Additionally this year, BGF completed a £4m equity investment into Escher Group Holdings plc, a Dublin headquartered software company primarily focused on the postal service market.

BGF experienced a record year in 2016 and was not only ranked as the UK’s most active investor, but also the seventh most active in the world by number of transactions. In total, it has invested over £1.2bn since 2011.

Leo Casey commented: “Irish SMEs need access to more patient sources of funding to support growth. BGF has a proven record of making investments in SME businesses. Its model of investing combines long-term funding with a minority partnership which is particularly attractive to entrepreneurs who do not want to lose control of their business. I am delighted to be joining the team, helping to both establish and strengthen BGF’s presence in the Irish market.”

Andy Gregory, Regional Director, BGF said: “With an existing network and established relationships with many entrepreneurs and growing businesses in Ireland, Leo brings the required local and commercial perspective important to BGF for expansion in the Republic of Ireland. We are delighted to have Leo as part of our growing team.”

Stephen Welton, CEO, BGF said: “We recognise the significant opportunity to help more of Ireland’s ambitious smaller and mid-sized companies become bigger businesses and in turn, encourage greater economic activity. We are very excited about this potential over the long term and look forward to working alongside Ireland’s existing funding community more closely, stimulating greater investment just as we have done in the UK. We also think this a timely moment to forge stronger trade links between Irish and UK SMEs.”

BGF provides long-term and patient capital from earlier-stage venture investment to established private and AIM-listed companies, to support a range of organic growth strategies including roll-outs, overseas expansion, investment in IT, marketing and operations, new factories and more. BGF also helps to funds acquisitions and secondary share sales where this helps to unlock growth. It has invested more than £1.2bn and backed more than 180 businesses, helping founders, CEOs and management teams to accelerate their growth, to think big and succeed.

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Notes to editor:

  • BGF recently announced a strategic partnership with First Derivatives plc (“FD”), which has offices on Mespil Road in Dublin. The partnership will identify, support and grow developing companies in areas such as cyber security, AI, blockchain, robotics, nanotechnology, life sciences, neurology and machine learning that want to use FD’s proven technology to disrupt markets.
  • BGF has invested in Derry-based waste management operative RiverRidge Recycling and family-owned housebuilder Braidwater Homes, also headquartered in Derry.
  • BGF employs around 140 people and has offices in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Manchester, Milton Keynes, and Reading.
  • BGF invested £387m in 2016 compared to £257m in 2015 and completed a total of 59 deals, compared to 31 in 2015. BGF was the UK’s top institutional investor in 2016 according to Beauhurst and the 7th most active investor in the world according to Pitchbook.
  • About BGF: BGF (Business Growth Fund) is the UK’s most active provider of growth capital to small and mid-sized businesses. The companies it backs are privately-owned, listed on AIM, or earlier stage technology companies, and typically have revenues of up to €/£100m. BGF makes initial investments of between €/£2m - €/£10m and can provide additional funding to support further growth. The investment provided is typically in the form of equity in return for a minority equity stake.

    BGF is an independent company with capital of up to £2.5 billion and is backed by five of the UK’s main banking groups - Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS and Standard Chartered.

    Issued on behalf of BGF by Gordon MRM

    Ray Gordon

    ray@gordonmrm.ie