Irish State exits Finance Ireland as lender raises € 50m – The Irish Times

The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) has sold its 33 per cent stake Finance Ireland as part of a series of transactions that have seen UK investment manager M&G join the shareholder register and participate on a € 50 million equity raise.

Finance Ireland’s other existing major shareholder, US investment giant Pimco, also participated in the fundraise, the Irish company said in a statement on Wednesday.

In 2021, the company’s new lending figure passed € 1 billion for the first time and the company is reporting strong demand for its lending offerings as economic activity continues to recover after the pandemic.

Finance Ireland, which was forced to abandon plans for a € 100 million-plus initial public offering (IPO) in May 2020 as the rapid spread of Covid-19 globally threw equity markets into turmoil, said it will use the fresh cash to support its future growth and expansion, including the continued growth of its car finance business.

The company recently moved its car finance business onto its own balance sheet to maximize its growth potential. It previously used funding from UK merchant banking group Close Brothers for this business.

Finance Ireland, founded by Billy Kane, now employs over 170 people and is Ireland’s largest non-bank lender, having grown into a multi-asset lender, specializing in car finance, commercial property, residential mortgages, SME, agri-lending and leasing finance . It is also poised to enter the green lending market, supporting consumers with a competitively priced home energy loan offering, it said.

Finance Ireland had a partnership with M&G before the UK group decided to take a stake. M&G funds the company’s mortgage lending. Finance Ireland said that the exit of ISIF is in line with the State investment organization’s business strategy, after supporting the growth of the business over the last six years.

“This transaction is a huge vote of confidence not just in Finance Ireland and the management team but in the Irish economy, providing us with long-term capital to grow and expand our customer offering and execute our long-term growth strategy,” said Mr Kane.

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