ISIF backs new €255m DunPort direct-lending fund for SMEs

6 Sep 2021

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The fund will provide debt capital to UK and Irish businesses with earnings between €1m and €10m.

Dublin-based DunPort Capital Management has raised €255m for its new SME-focused direct-lending fund.

The Government’s Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) committed €95m to the fund, the firm said, joined by “a number of other domestic institutional investors”.

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The new Oak Corporate Credit Designated Activity Company (DAC) fund is a successor to a similar €283m fund launched by DunPort in 2017, which was called Elm Corporate Credit DAC.

The purpose of this venture is to provide debt capital to companies in the UK and Ireland with earnings of between €1m and €10m. The fund will invest across many difference sectors.

DunPort describes itself as “the leading provider of non-bank corporate and SME debt capital in the Irish market” and continues to expand its presence in the UK. The firm has deployed more than €750m of capital to 38 different companies to date.

Pat Walsh, an executive director, commented: “We are continuing to experience strong and sustained demand from a wide range of advisors and businesses in Ireland and the UK for flexible debt solutions since the establishment of DunPort in 2017.

“Following the successful deployment of capital from our previous credit vehicle, Elm Corporate Credit, we are very pleased to launch this new fund in continued support of SMEs and mid-sized corporates across our core markets.”

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe, TD, added: “By investing in this SME-focused direct lending fund, ISIF can leverage private sector investment to support SMEs and mid-sized corporates.

“As our economy begins to recover from the impact of the pandemic, funds such as this will help to support established businesses by providing the funding that they need to grow. This may prove to be indispensable for some Irish businesses wishing to regain their longer-term momentum.”

Ross Morrow, director at DunPort, noted that ISIF is “already a significant supporter of Irish SMEs”, and this fund is “another good example of deploying ISIF capital on a commercial basis, in support of Irish businesses that generate important economic activity and employment”.

In March, the sovereign development fund invested in another SME-focused funding vehicle managed by MML Growth Capital Partners.

Jack Kennedy is a freelance journalist based in Dublin

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