Profits at Draper Esprit fall by almost two thirds

Listed venture capital firm says it is ready to help companies emerge from Covid-19

Profits at Dublin and London-listed venture capital firm Draper Esprit fell by almost two thirds last year, the company's annual report shows.

The firm, which invests in high growth digital technology businesses, announces its final results for the year ended March 31st, 2020, on Monday.

It said its profit after tax amounted to £40 million (€44m) in the period, which was down £111 million in 2019.

Its gross portfolio value increased by 18 per cent from £594 million to £703 million, while net asset value per share increased by 6 per cent from 524 pence to 555 pence.


The company had cash realisations of £40 million, which was up from £16 million, with further exits amounting to about £80 million announced post year-end. It had net assets of £660 million, up from £619 million.

Operating costs continue to be less than the targeted 1 per cent of year-end net asset value.

The company said it was “well-funded” with £34 million available cash resources at year-end and undrawn debt facilities of £5 million. The value of the core portfolio companies increased to £471 million from £415 million.

Draper Esprit chief executive Martin Davis said it was in a strong position to help companies emerge from the coronavirus pandemic strongly.

“Our strong performance for the period reflects that our portfolio of investments includes some of the most exciting private technology companies in Europe,” he said.

“While the Covid-19 pandemic has clearly impacted companies globally, we firmly believe in the role that technology will play in helping to support the wider recovery.

“Our portfolio companies are likely to be at the vanguard of this recovery given the likely acceleration of trends such as cloud infrastructure, online gaming and entertainment, digital healthcare, remote financial services and automation as a result of the changes made by countries, corporations and individuals.

“Our position as one of Europe’s most active VCs, and our long and deep understanding of the needs of this community, as well as our experience of previous cycles, put us in an excellent position to play a leading role in helping innovative businesses of all sizes emerge stronger from this crisis and play an even more active role in the communities and markets where they operate.”

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter