€50m fund launched for small and medium property developments

Backers include AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ireland Strategic Investment Fund

A €50 million fund has been launched to provide investment for mid-size residential developments across the State.

Large urban areas including Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Kilkenny will be the focus for the fund which expects to support construction of up to 2,000 new homes by small and mid-sized developers over the coming three years.

Pearl Property Managers Limited, a business established by two executives from entrepreneur Bill McCabe's Oyster Group, is backed by investors including AIB, Bank of Ireland, Davycrest, the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund and Oyster Capital.

It is envisaged the fund will provide up to €5 million in equity for development of new homes on residential sites with full planning permission and zoned residential sites. It will focus on projects of up to 200 units.


Subsidiary of Oyster

Pearl, advised by Davy Corporate Finance, is being led by Ken McCullagh and Martin Scully. Mr McCullagh has been chief executive of LNC Property Group, a subsidiary of Oyster, since 2001. Mr Scully is the chief executive of Oyster Capital Partners. Both Mr McCullagh and Mr Scully are investing in the fund which is separate to Oyster.

Aidan O’Hogan, formerly chairman and managing director of Hamilton Osbourne King, will act as chairman of the fund’s investment committee.

New housing stock

“With private equity and hedge funds financing mostly targeting larger builders and large-scale developments, the lack of liquidity for smaller developers is a constraint on the supply of new housing stock,” Mr McCullagh noted. He added the fund would only partner with developers with a “strong” track record in residential development.

“We are not developers and we will not be buying land or sites directly and we won’t finance unzoned or agricultural land projects. This is about providing support to smaller builders who can add to our housing stock,” Mr McCullagh said. He added that developers would have to have an equity stake in any developments seeking funding. The fund’s first investment is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business