Major Irish VAT refunder to be snapped up by French firm for €585m

23 Nov 2015

The Irish VAT refund company Fintrax has caught the eye of the French equity group Eurazeo, which is believed to be wrapping up a deal for the Irish company that is believed to be worth €585m.

The demand for Fintrax has been quite high in recent times, with it having put itself up for sale earlier this year with a price tag of €500m, but Eurazeo has now beaten other major firms like Bridgepoint, Hellman & Friedman and UnionPay to the punch.

The company was most recently bought out back in 2012 by the British firm Exponent Private Equity for €170m, having seen its founder Gerry Barry step aside to allow Patrick Waldon to step into the hot seat.

It had been expected that the deal would cost somewhere in the region of €585m based on its enterprise value, and now the French investor has officially made a statement on the deal that it will indeed cost it a total of €585m.

According to RTÉ News, Eurazeo confirmed that it will be paying a total of €300m on completion of the deal, with €35m to be released depending on how Fintrax performs in 2016.

The remaining €250m will be paid as part of debt refinancing for Fintrax.

In terms of the company’s management under Waldon, they are expected to retain 10pc of the company, out of a total workforce of 400 staff across 26 countries.

In its statement, Eurazeo’s managing director Marc Frappier, said: “We are convinced that our experience in the luxury retail, and travel and leisure sectors, as well as our international network, notably in China and Brazil, will be major assets in the acceleration of the development of the company.”

Founded in Galway in 1985, Fintrax has gone on to become one of the second-largest VAT refund companies in the world both on a commercial level with tourists, and with retailers and governments, with it totalling 3.7m transactions prior to its purchase by Exponent Private Equity.

VAT refund office image via SIHASAKPRACHUM/Shutterstock

Updated 11:18 23/11/2015

This article has been amended to show that the final financial figure of the deal is €585m to reflect the additional €250m that will be spent in debt refinancing, on top of the €335m that Eurazeo is contributing.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic