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Friday, 18th September 2020
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Quality in the underlying asset was core to funding success back
Obtaining underwritten funding to get through a tight bid process was challenging for the acquirer Alchemy Partners in this year‘s winner of the Funding Facility Deal of the Year: the acquisition financing of the Noonan Services Group. Yet, in spite of difficulties, funding was achieved, reflecting to the strength of the underlying asset
The provision of loan facilities for Alchemy Partners in its acquisition of the Noonan Services Group has been recognised as the winning deal in the Funding Facility category. Ulster Bank Ireland acted as underwriter and mandated lead arranger on the deal, supported by McCann FitzGerald as its lead counsel.

The deal illustrates the kind of opportunities that still exist for banks in the Irish market, showing that for those that are willing, the risk is worth taking.
Click for large image...


Noonan Services Group represented an attractive lending proposition: it is Ireland’s largest facilities services business and provides cleaning services and products, security, grounds maintenance and pest control services to clients in the public and private sectors. The company, which was established in 1977, has an annual turnover of more than €100 million and over 5000 staff.

Alchemy Partners is a UK-based investment company with investments in over 20 companies operating in a variety of industries across Ireland and the UK. The deal ensures that it was able to acquire a market leading business with a solid brand in a defensive sector. One of the major benefits for Noonan Services Group is that it now has the additional financial fire power added to its business as it seeks to grow its integrated services offerings.

Ulster Bank says the uniqueness of the deal was that it provided a debt underwrite to Alchemy Partners, notwithstanding the uncertain banking environment, by successfully syndicating a portion of the bank debt to Bank of Scotland Ireland Limited. ‘From Alchemy’s viewpoint, the transaction was noteworthy given that it was acquiring a family owned and family managed business, and such transactions are typically more challenging to complete,’ comments Gervaise McAteer at Ulster Bank.
Gervaise McAteer


As with any acquisition in the current environment, McAteer says that there were a number of significant hurdles that needed to be overcome in completing the deal. ‘The timing of the deal during the period April - August 2008 presented challenges for all parties concerned given the economic backdrop,’ he says.

‘There was a lengthy financial, commercial and legal due diligence process required in order to get the purchaser and finance parties comfortable with the underlying business,’ says McAteer. Also, in terms of funding liquidity, ‘Alchemy Partners was very focused on obtaining underwritten funding for the transaction to deliver it through a tight bid process. This was a significant challenge as the funding was secured in the midst of the credit crisis, but was ultimately delivered supported by the strong relationships between the bank and Alchemy and the quality of the underlying asset.’

NCB Corporate Finance, who advised and managed on behalf of Noonan Services Group on all aspects of the transaction, ran a competitive auction process with a number of bids for the company both from international and domestic private equity and trade buyers.
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