Chinese join Irish State fund backing Draper Esprit IPO

Shares to start trading in Dublin and London on June 15th

Brian Caulfield, who heads up Draper Esprit’s Irish business. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Brian Caulfield, who heads up Draper Esprit’s Irish business. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

 

A Chinese fund has emerged alongside the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund as a key backer of the planned flotation of venture capital firm Draper Esprit on the junior Dublin and London markets.

Draper Esprit, which has a number of investments in Irish technology companies, said on Friday that China Huarong Asset Management, one of four asset management companies the Chinese government formed in 1999, is one of the main investors underpinning the initial public offering.

The firm, previously known as DFJ Esprit, also confirmed the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund and UK investment companies Baillie Gifford and Woodford Investment Management as cornerstone investors. Sources said last week that ISIF, a legacy DFJ Esprit investor that is committing new funds, will own almost 25 per cent of the business after the flotation.

Placing

Draper Esprit said it is placing £79 million (€101 million) of shares, mainly comprised of new stock, but also £5 million of stock in the hands of existing investors. It is on track to have an initial market capitalisation of £122 million, with shares trading in Dublin and London from Wednesday, June 15th.

Goodbody Stockbrokers is the company’s adviser on its listing on Ireland’s Enterprise Securities Market, with Numis in the UK acting as nominated adviser and lead bookrunner on the deal. Zeus Capital in London and Goodbody are joint bookrunners.

Draper Esprit’s Irish business is headed up by serial entrepreneur Brian Caulfield, a former partner with Trinity Venture Capital. His portfolio includes investments in companies such as Datahug, Mobile Travel Technologies, Getbulb and Movidius.

Mr Caulfield is also chairman of the Irish Venture Capital Association and is a non-executive director of The Irish Times Limited.