The transaction was also supported by bank financing provided by AIB Corporate Banking. The investment will help drive the continued growth of the Fastway network in Ireland, which now handles over 15 million parcels a year and generates annual revenue of over €70 million.
Fastway Couriers (Ireland) was founded as a franchise in Ireland in 2001 having originated in New Zealand in 1983. It has grown rapidly in recent years and now has over 300 local courier franchisees across Ireland, each with their own business. Between these business owners and other staff, the Fastway (Ireland) network now facilitates the employment of over 550 people across the country. The network’s recent growth has been driven by customers such as Shop Direct (Littlewoods Ireland), ASOS, Boohoo, MissGuided and iParcel. Its Parcel Connect business, is Ireland’s largest pick-up and drop-off network and typifies Fastway’s approach to technological development and service enhancement. Now serving over 850,000 users, Parcel Connect has fast become Ireland’s leading platform for online shopping services.
MML Ireland is backing Fastway Ireland’s existing management team, led by CEO Bobby O’Keeffe, who is maintaining a significant stake in the business. Mr O’Keeffe, formerly a senior operator with Intel for over 15 years, invested in the Fastway system initially by investing in the Midlands regional depot in 2002 before acquiring the Dublin region in 2005 and being appointed Group CEO in 2009. Under O’Keeffe’s leadership Fastway in Ireland has moved from a local business-to-business model to a cross-industry delivery network, specialising in the eCommerce fashion and clothing delivery space.
The MML Ireland investment was made through MML Growth Capital Partners Ireland, a €125 million fund supported by Enterprise Ireland, AIB and a number of international institutional investors. The fund is dedicated to backing small and medium sized private businesses located on the island of Ireland.
Bobby O’Keeffe of Fastway Ireland commented:
“We are delighted to receive this investment and welcome MML Ireland into the Fastway Ireland team. We see it as a tremendous validation of our business. MML Ireland was our preferred investment partner due to their proven capability of working with growth oriented businesses. The MML Ireland team are flexible and creative in their approach and we believe they are the right people to help guide and support us to even greater success over coming years.”
Neil McGowan, who led the deal for MML Ireland, said:
“MML Ireland is excited to partner with Bobby and his senior team. Fastway has a very strong reputation and is growing very quickly against the backdrop of a rapidly changing and developing eCommerce retail space. We have been enormously impressed with the team at Fastway and believe they are very well placed to drive the business to its maximum potential.”
Colin Hunt, Managing Director of AIB Wholesale, Institutional and Corporate Banking, said:
“AIB is delighted to be partnering with MML Ireland and Bobby and the Fastway team. AIB is committed to backing Irish businesses across the full capital structure and the Fastway transaction is a great example of this support. We look forward to working with the Fastway team to further support the business over the coming years.”