Irish entrepreneur €119m richer after selling his firm

A Galway entrepreneur is €119m richer after selling the company he founded 27 years ago.

Gerard Barry, 67, founded the Fintrax Group in 1985 after working in management positions with various UK and US multinationals.

Since then, he has grown his company into a multi- national powerhouse with more than 400 employees across 26 countries.

Mr Barry held 70% of Fintrax in a trust with his wife and three children, with 30% owned by the firm’s management until the €170m buyout yesterday.

The company has been bought by Exponent Private Equity after six months of negotiations, during which there were 10 fully funded bids for the business.

Mr Barry, who was short-listed for an Ernst & Young entrepreneur of the year award in 2007, said the time had come to sell the firm.

“Having had the privilege to lead the 1985 start-up to its current worldwide success, it is now the right time to pass on the baton and I am delighted that the group’s new investor Exponent, in conjunction with the existing Fintrax management and staff, will continue to grow the group and no doubt help it to reach new heights.”

Managing director of Raglan Capital, Cathal Friel, who acted as an adviser on the sale, said that the buyers were planning on doubling the business.

“It is a good time to sell. The buyers are astute and believe that they can build the market and double the size of the company again in a short period of time.”

Fintrax specialises in payment solutions for banks, merchants and tourists. The company offers two principle services under the brands, ¥€$ Dynamic Currency Conversion and Premier Tax Free.

Trading under the ¥€$ brand, Fintrax Payment Systems is an international payments company. The area of the company that is being viewed as the engine for growth is Premier Tax.

Premier Tax is one of only two companies in the world to provide a Vat refund service to tourists for the main luxury brands.

With the increase of tourists from emerging economies spending money on luxury brands, its turnover is set to grow.

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