Housebuilder Winterbrook gets €5m investment

Venture capital firm BGF takes stake in firm and promises ‘significant’ follow-on funding

Former DCC chief executive  Tommy Breen, Leo Casey, head of BGF in the Republic, and Winterbrook managing director Francis Rhatigan. Photograph: Colm Mahady/Fennells

Former DCC chief executive Tommy Breen, Leo Casey, head of BGF in the Republic, and Winterbrook managing director Francis Rhatigan. Photograph: Colm Mahady/Fennells

 

State-backed venture capital firm BGF is to take a minority stake in residential house builder Winterbrook after investing €5 million in the company.

Former DCC chief executive Tommy Breen has also backed the family-owned business in a separate investment and will join the board as non-executive chairman.

Led by developer Francis Rhatigan, Winterbrook was established in 2014. It has a landbank of sites across prime locations in the wider Dublin region including Enniskerry, Dalkey and Foxrock, where it is developing 23 properties at Westminster Wood that will launch in May.

The company, which said it intended to use the funds to support its activities, is busy eyeing up new site acquisitions.

“We are very pleased to have secured these investments. They will open up new opportunities as Winterbrook will now have timely access to additional funding when opportunities arise,” said Mr Rhatigan.

“Capitalising on our capable team and many years of successful home building, we will be actively pursuing new development opportunities and look forward to bringing many more new housing developments to the market,” he added.

The investment is the second made by BGF (formerly the Business Growth Fund) in the Republic. It took a stake in Donegal-headquartered nursing home operator Brindley Healthcare in return for a €10 million investment in January.

Follow-on funding

BGF, which said it expected to provide “significant” follow-on funding for Winterbrook, was set up in 2011 and has invested in more than 230 companies making it one of the most active equity investor in the UK.

The Government-backed Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank are all investors in BGF, which targets equity investments of between €1 million and €10 million.

The firm has invested in more than 230 companies overall and launched a dedicated fund in the Republic in late 2017 with up to €250 million to invest in small and medium-sized enterprises.

“We are delighted to take a minority position in Winterbrook and to support the company which is a very successful family-owned business. Everybody understands that housing is a critical infrastructure issue in Ireland at present and quality companies like Winterbrook have an important role to play in addressing this issue,” said Leo Casey, head of BGF in the Republic.

“Our focus on only taking minority positions is resonating with a lot of business owners who want the benefits of equity support without losing control. BGF believes in empowering, not replacing, existing owners and their management teams and we look forward to working with the Winterbrook team in the months and years ahead,” he added.