Dutch private equity group Waterland, which took a majority stake in Irish nursing home provider Silver Stream last year, intends to step up its investment in companies here after closing a new €2.5 billion fund.
The group, which has made 68 acquisitions so far in 2020 and 650 since it was established 21 years ago, opened an office in Dublin a year ago.The group is primarily focused on investing in small and medium-sized companies operating in four broad areas: outsourcing and digitisation, leisure and luxury, ageing population, and sustainability.
Several of Waterland’s portfolio companies, including Sarens, Amino Labs, Otravo and Cawood Scientific, have already been active in Ireland for a number of years, or have placed direct investments into the market here.
Waterland typically takes controlling stakes in profitable businesses with earnings of between €5 million and €20 million before interest and tax.
Laura Dillon, who leads the group's Irish team, said it is interested in backing scaling companies, which are often family-run, and which are looking towards Europe for growth as a hedge against Brexit.
“We’re looking to use the new fund to help find great Irish businesses,” Ms Dillon said. “Businesses that are looking to expand, particularly into mainland Europe, can benefit from our help. We can support them to grow organically but also through buy-and-build as there may be companies on the continent that could be a good match in helping to accelerate growth.”
Waterland concluded its first deal here last year when it invested in Silver Stream for an undisclosed sum. The company, which currently operates seven nursing homes in counties Dublin, Meath, Wicklow and Tipperary, is looking to expand capacity from 357 beds to more than 1,000.
“We’re pretty low-key but are extremely active investors and are quite broad in terms of the companies we’re interested in partnering with,” said Ms Dillon.