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Exponent Announces Investment In Kingsbridge Healthcare Group

10th, Jul 2024

Exponent, a leading European private equity firm, announced that it has reached an agreement to invest in Kingsbridge Healthcare Group (“KHG” or “the Company”), a leading private healthcare provider in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The investment will be used to scale the Company’s operations and advance its mission to provide world-class medical services to patients across the island of Ireland. It marks Exponent’s eighth platform investment in Ireland, their first in Northern Ireland, and underscores its long-standing commitment to partnering with founder-owned, market leading businesses.

Upon completion of the transaction, Dr. Suresh Tharma and Mr. Ashok Songra, the co-founders of KHG, will continue to hold a significant stake in the Company. Exponent is backing the incumbent management team led by Chief Executive Mark Regan. Dr. Tharma will become Chair of KHG’s Board.

Founded in 2004, KHG offers a comprehensive range of medical treatments and services in surgery and diagnostics from its four hospitals and eleven medical centres across Belfast and Ballykelly in Northern Ireland and Sligo in the Republic of Ireland. Over the last two decades, the Company has demonstrated a consistent track record of expanding its capacity as well as clinical capabilities and facilities through acquisition, capital expenditure, and new site development.

KHG prides itself on a strong culture of clinical excellence, operational efficiency, and quality, making it an attractive choice for consultants and patients. Over the past three years, KHG has welcomed approximately 150 new medical consultants, bringing the total to over 400. The company now boasts a workforce of over 1,100 dedicated professionals.

Exponent tracked KHG’s performance for several years as a fast-growing, differentiated company in the island’s expanding healthcare sector. The firm’s investment in KHG underscores its expertise in investing in Ireland-based founder or corporate owned businesses to unlock their potential. Recent examples include H&MV, a Limerick-based specialist in high voltage engineering and design, Ethos Engineering, a Dublin-based leader in sustainable data-centre design services, and Galway-based Chanelle Pharma, Ireland’s largest manufacturer of veterinary and medical generic pharmaceuticals.

David McGovern, Partner at Exponent, said: “Kingsbridge is a special business, doing important work in a differentiated way. The strength of the company's culture and patient focus was apparent to us on our first visit to Kingsbridge Belfast. Through its high-tech facilities and thoughtful operating model, Kingsbridge is strategically well positioned to address the growing demand for healthcare services in Northern Ireland and across the island of Ireland.

“We look forward to working closely with Mark and his impressive team to build on its success in the coming years by investing in its capabilities, expanding its presence, and exploring new growth initiatives. Together, we will strengthen the Company’s crucial role in supporting the island’s healthcare network.”

Jeroen Regeur, Partner at Exponent, added: “We are excited to make this investment, supporting Kingsbridge in the provision of excellent healthcare to patients on the island of Ireland, while partnering with insurers and the public sector.

Our joint priority will be on investing further in people, equipment, and technology in order to provide a wider range of healthcare services across both existing and new facilities. Kingsbridge plays an important role in the healthcare sector in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and we are honoured to be supporting the company in its mission of providing the highest standard of care.”

Mark Regan, CEO of Kingsbridge Healthcare Group, also commented: “We welcome this significant investment and vote of confidence in our business. The team at Exponent is committed to supporting our local healthcare sector and has an impressive track record of backing great businesses across the island.

“Our aim from the very outset two decades ago was to improve access to healthcare, be that through supporting the public sector via the NHS, HSE and NTPF or those who wish to access our surgery and diagnostic services using self-pay models or private medical insurance.

“In Northern Ireland we have the longest healthcare waiting lists in Europe. By working in partnership with both the NHS and the HSE as well as the burgeoning private healthcare market here, I strongly believe that together we can make a real and lasting difference to the outcomes for many more patients. Our singular aim going forward is to continue to build on the legacy we’ve already established and to serve the healthcare needs of the population of Ireland, north and south.”

Over the past decade, Exponent has invested over EUR 1 billion in the region. In addition to H&MV, Ethos Engineering and Chanelle Pharma, other notable investments include Fintrax (now called Planet), a financial technology and services firm based in Co. Galway; and Enva, a leading provider of recycling and resource recovery solutions in the UK and Ireland.

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