ETL Global, the German-based accounting group that entered the Irish market earlier this year by acquiring 51 per cent of the Noone Casey practice in Dublin, has sealed its second deal here as consolidation gathers pace.
The network’s ETL Ireland entity has acquired a majority stake in Waterford-based DMB Chartered Accountants, which focuses on accounting, assurance, and corporate finance services for small businesses and startups, for an undisclosed price.
The move has almost doubled its revenue in Ireland and staff count. Total employees now stand at 43, according to the firm.
Anthony Casey, managing director of ETL Ireland and co-founder of Noone Casey, said that the firm is in talks with “a number of other firms at the moment” and aims to invest in as many as 20 businesses by the end of 2025.
“I believe the sector will be fundamentally changed in five years’ time. Firms that don’t have the broad support and knowledge base of a larger network, or international group, behind them will likely be in the minority by then,” he said.
The Irish accounting sector has seen a surge in dealmaking this year as overseas firms, often backed by private equity money, seek to tap into the EU’s fastest growing economy and, paradoxically, an expected increase in debt restructurings as some sectors grapple with the lingering effects of the pandemic, inflation and rising interest rates.
For small domestic practices, the burdens of mounting regulation and compliance, technology costs and succession planning, are also driving consolidation conversations in the sector.
London-based Azets purchased Baker Tilly Ireland earlier this year. Azets Ireland chief executive Neil Hughes said recently that he plans to quadruple the firm’s current 125-strong workforce over the next three years, including by acquisition.
Fellow private equity-backed accounting firm Moore Kingston Smith (MKS) took a majority stake in July in Cork-based Moore Ireland, the Republic’s ninth-largest practice with 130 employees. Moore Ireland has a mandate to invest up to €5 million in a “buy and build” expansion plan over the next three years.
Elsewhere, Ifac Group, the farming and agribusiness accountancy firm, bought corporate restructuring and forensic accounting specialists Friel Stafford during the summer.
Cork accountancy and wealth management firm Quintas was bought in September by UK and Irish group, Xeinadin, for an undisclosed amount. The deal increased Xeinadin’s Irish headcount by almost 20 per cent to 455.
Meanwhile, Dains Accountants, a fast-growing British firm backed by private equity group Horizon Capital, is known to be among players scouting for Irish deals.