Northern Ireland’s largest private healthcare group, the 3fivetwo Group, has secured a multi-million pound investment from a new fund dedicated to investing in Northern Ireland.
The fund, created by US-based 57 Stars LLC and leading UK SME investor Foresight Group, will be used to provide additional capacity, including beds and laminar flow theatres, at 3fivetwo’s Kingsbridge hospitals in Belfast and Sligo.
The investment will also enable the provision of more services in imaging, orthopaedics and specialist services. such as cardiac surgery, and the expansion of medical training and optometry services through acquisition and partnership.
57 Stars, a boutique independent asset manager, is partnered in the investment with Foresight, one of UK’s longest-standing private equity investment houses, who will manage the new fund locally.The investors, who will be seeking to support other ambitious small and medium sized businesses operating in Northern Ireland, will be taking a minority stake in 3fivetwo Group and both funds will be represented on the board of directors.
3fivetwo is the only private healthcare group on the island of Ireland to have hospitals in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, as well as a presence in London.
Suresh Tharma, joint CEO, said: “57 Stars and Foresight believe in our vision and support our aspiration to be a world leading healthcare company. We realised that our goals were aligned from an early stage and we are immensely proud of the faith they have shown in us.
“They want to make a return on their investment for their investors, naturally, but they also want to make a difference to the lives of the people of Ireland in the process. Our plans are ambitious and set a path for achieving both objectives.”
Bernard C. McGuire Jr, Managing Director of 57 Stars, said: “As the private healthcare leader in Northern Ireland, 3fivetwo has built an institutional foundation for the future and is well positioned to complement the public healthcare sector as part of the solution for long hospital waiting lists.
“3fivetwo boasts a high-quality management team and a company-wide focus on service delivery to patients and 57 Stars is excited to be making a long-term growth equity investment to further enhance the Group’s capabilities and enable it to take advantage of multiple new opportunities.”
Chris Wardle, Senior Investment Manager at Foresight, said: “3fivetwo Group has a unique proposition with an entrepreneurial management team who have proven their ability to identify and address exciting opportunities, while improving the lives of thousands.
“Foresight has a long history of regional investing in the UK and Ireland to support SMEs to achieve ambitious goals and our new partnership with 57 Stars helps us continue to do this in the dynamic Northern Irish market.
“The new fund will be targeting both growth capital and majority stake investments in businesses with a material presence in the region, primarily supporting companies that generate EBITDA in excess of £1m.”
The transaction was brokered by corporate finance experts HNH Group. Director Craig Holmes said they were delighted to act for 57 Stars on the transaction, which connects US funding to one of Northern Ireland’s leading companies and is a significant development for the local market.
“Attracting US investment into a NI-based Company indicates further confidence in our local private sector and talent pool,” he said. “This investment will strategically enhance 3fivetwo’s offering and fund further growth opportunities across their markets.”
Ashok Songra, joint CEO of 3fivetwo Group, added: “Our ambitions are to extend our reach by providing 5-star medical services beyond this island to the rest of the UK and other parts of the world.
“57 Stars and Foresight are ideally placed to assist with the scaling up of our business and to open new opportunities which will help us exceed our goals. We have bonded very quickly as a team and look forward immensely to the journey ahead.”
Adrian Doran, Head of Corporate Banking for Barclays in Northern Ireland, said: “We have been 3fivetwo’s banking partners since 2011 and we are excited by the prospect of the next stage of their development.
“Attracting a multi-million-pound investment from a prestigious US fund such as 57 Stars, together with on the ground support from one of the UK’s leading private equity firms, gives a tremendous platform for future growth.”
3fivetwo were advised by A&L Goodbody, KPMG and Baker Tilly Mooney Moore. 57 Stars and Foresight were advised by Tughans, HNH Group, Luminii Consulting, Catalysis Advisory and Vista Insurance Brokers.