Beechbrook secures €35m for Irish SME fund

The firm’s first Irish fund will operate out of Cork and Dublin to back high-growth companies in the country’s regions.

Beechbrook Capital has received €35 million to lend to Irish SMEs to be managed from the firm’s new Irish headquarters in Cork.

The Beechbrook Ireland SME Credit Fund has a €100 million fundraising target and is backed by the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund and Helsinki-based fund of funds Certior Capital. Each committed €16 million and have conditional commitments to invest a further €4 million each alongside other institutional investors.

The fund will look to back fast-growing SMEs in Ireland with a turnover of between €3 million and €25 million and EBITDA over €1 million. It is particularly interested in investing in regional growth hubs and will provide mainly senior secured loans to support companies’ growth plans, acquisitions, buyouts, shareholder realignment and overseas expansion plans.

The vehicle will be managed from Cork and Beechbrook has also opened a Dublin office to help broaden its reach to SMEs across the country.

David Merriman and John O’Sullivan will co-head the investment team. Cork-based Merriman has 30 years of experience at Bank of Ireland where his most recent role was as head of enterprise development for Ireland.

O’Sullivan will be based in the Dublin office and has 10 years of experience at Enterprise Ireland where he was a senior vice-president and co-managed its Direct Investment Fund, where he was responsible for a portfolio of debt and equity investments in Ireland, the UK and US.

The pair will be supported by associate directors Conor O’Callaghan and Alan O’Dea and compliance manager Denise McCarthy.

London-headquartered Beechbrook recently launched a second vintage of its UK SME fund, reaching a first close on £128 million ($159 million; €142 million) in March.