Dutch private equity firm plans to double Irish investments to €200m – The Irish Times

Dutch private equity firm plans to double Irish investments to €200m – The Irish Times

Dutch private equity firm Waterland plans to at least double the €100 million it has invested in Irish companies since entering the Republic three years ago, according to its local head, after the group completed a €4 billion fundraising to target medium-sized companies across Europe.

The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) has come on board as a “strategic investor” in the pan-European fund, according to Laura Dillon, managing director and principal of Waterland’s Irish office. However, it is understood that the ISIF investment amounts to just €10 million, as all investors in the cash raise were scaled back as it was oversubscribed.

Waterland has spent about €100 million on three Irish purchases and follow-up deals undertaken by the acquired companies since it ventured into the market in 2019.

Nursing home group Silver Stream Healthcare has grown from seven care homes to 11 in Ireland, with another under construction, since Waterland acquired a majority stake in the business in 2019.

Waterland acquired control of Writech, a Westmeath-based fire-protection company, in 2021 and subsequently bankrolled the business as it acquired a Swedish peer called Ce Sprinkler and UK-based Compco Fire Systems.

It took a majority stake in MTM Engineering, a Meath-based data centre cable specialist, last summer in a deal reported to be worth €30 million.

Ms Dillon said that she hopes to invest at least a further €100 million over the next two years.

“That’s my minimum ambition,” she said, adding that the focus is on finding companies that are looking to expand internationally, such as Writech and MTM, or complement existing Waterland investments elsewhere. While Silverstream Healthcare is a “purely Irish play”, the firm also has nursing homes in Germany and the UK.

While Ms Dillon said that while dealmaking in the Irish market has fallen in the past year or so, amid uncertainty over the global economy, rising inflation and interest rates, “there are still a lot of people out there who want to expand their businesses or are thinking about succession planning”.

She also said that with Ulster Bank and KBC Bank Ireland withdrawing from the Irish market, “debt financing is trickier to come by”.

“There is still a lot of [private equity] capital out there that wants to invest. I think risk tolerance has changed a little bit, amid talk about a [global] recession and strong inflation squeezing profit margins,” she said.

“That’s impacting the valuations that people willing to pay for things, but when it comes to private equity, a lot of money has been raised and people are keen to deploy it – but at the right valuations.”

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