Cardinal Capital invests €30m in Northern Ireland kitchens company

Uform will use investment to grow the business in Ireland and the UK

Dublin investment group Cardinal Capital has taken a majority stake in Uform, a Northern Ireland-based manufacturer of kitchen doors and furniture, for about €30 million, it is understood.

The investment by Cardinal Ireland Partners, a fund managed by Cardinal, will be used to boost capacity at Uform’s facilities in Toomebridge Antrim and also at a plant in Donegal run by its sister company Andoras, which trades as Aishling Furniture. The group employs 415 staff.

Eamon and Paul Donnelly, who cofounded the business in 1993 with their late father Eddie Donnelly, will remain onboard as “significant” shareholders. Cardinal typically takes majority stakes in the businesses in which it invests. UK private equity group BGF, which invested in Uform in 2019, will also retain a minority stake in Uform.

The company makes about 1,500 kitchens per week for the UK and Irish market and is growing at about 40 per cent annually. Its sales in the year to the end of April last year were about £44 million (€51 million), while its Ebitda (earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortisation) was £4.9 million.

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Paul Doody, an associate director at Cardinal, said Uform has the potential to “scale significantly”, as the Irish residential property market continues to grow, while the UK’s market has also been buoyant in recent years. Growth in both property markets is cooling as interest rates rise, but house refurbishments are seen as another major stream of business for Uform.

Uform’s co-founders, the Donnellys, said they partnered with Cardinal for its “track record in helping businesses scale”.

The deal is subject to clearance from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is London Correspondent for The Irish Times