MML Ireland backs existing management and acquires Natural World Products Limited

MML Ireland announced a deal to make a c.£20m investment into Natural World Products Limited, the largest recycler of household organic waste on the island of Ireland, to facilitate the further expansion of the company.

The deal, which sees MML Ireland as the largest single equity holder, includes investment by 57 Stars. It represents a significant investment in the business alongside the current management team led by Colm Warren. As part of the deal, all the existing shareholders apart from Colm Warren will exit the business.

NWP manages more than 250,000 tonnes of organics annually across Ireland, producing high-quality, peat-free organic compost with significant benefits for soil health and carbon sequestration. The business supplies compost to a wide range of local community and voluntary projects as well as to customers as diverse as hobby gardeners, landscapers and farmers, through to Historic Royal Palaces’ Hillsborough Castle and Gardens and Royal Portrush Golf Club. The business employs 55 staff across four facilities in Northern Ireland and is widely regarded as a progressive leader within its field.

The MML Ireland investment is led by members of its Ireland team, including Neil McGowan, Shane Cooke, Chris Walsh and Muireann MacAuliffe. It will be made from MML Growth Capital Partners Ireland Fund II LP, a €145m growth fund backed by British Business Investments, AIB and a number of international institutional investors. The fund is dedicated to backing small and medium sized businesses on the island of Ireland.

Colm Warren, CEO of NWP, said:

“Building on the platform created by the vision of Brendan Woods and his family, we have achieved an awful lot in the last few years at NWP despite often challenging circumstances but, in reality, we are only getting started. We are delighted to have both MML Ireland, 57 Stars, and HSBC as supportive partners, backing our ambition for the business and helping to take NWP into its next cycle of development and evolution.”

Neil McGowan, Co-Head of Investments at MML Ireland, commented:

“NWP is an outstanding example of the circular economy in action. It helps divert organic waste away from landfill with all the carbon-saving benefits that entails but is also a key ingredient in helping to return organic matter to heavily farmed soils and offering alternatives to peat-based growing media in horticulture. Colm Warren and the NWP team are passionate about the business and have a proven track record of delivering strong growth. We are delighted to partner with them and are keen to invest further to allow this business achieve its exciting potential.”

Bernard C. McGuire Jr, Managing Director at 57 Stars, commented:

“NWP is a very important component of the local economy, effectively a partner with numerous local municipalities processing and recycling local organic waste into organic compost. It does this as a technological leader, not just in Ireland but across the United Kingdom as well. 57 Stars believes Colm Warren and his team can build further on their leadership position in their existing markets and expand into other geographies while also promoting sustainability and helping to address the challenges of global climate change. This business has a long and exciting runway in a critically important sector. Additionally, this investment is in one of our focus sectors – environmental sustainability – and is consistent with our philosophy of responsible investment.”

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