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.