Making it Work

Salmon Software expects to double turnover after selling majority stake

Melior Equity Partners acquired about 70 per cent of the Dublin-based treasury management software company after its founder realised it needed new equity to progress to the next level

John Byrne, chief executive, Salmon Software: ‘I brought Salmon to the Premiership, but I can’t win the Champions League.’ Picture: John T Ohle

Salmon Software, the Dublin-based treasury management software company, expects to double its turnover in the next two years after selling a majority stake to a private equity firm, according to its founder and chief executive.

John Byrne, who established Salmon Software in 1985, told the Business Post that his company was also expecting to add up to 15 new staff in the coming years as its sales increased.

In March, Melior Equity Partners acquired a stake of about 70 per cent in the company, for a fee reported to be in the region of €15 million.

Byrne, 66, said he’d decided to take on outside investment after realising the company needed an injection of capital to progress to the next level.

“About five years ago, I decided that it was probably a good time to look at taking in investors,” he told the Business Post. “I defined it as: I brought Salmon to the Premiership, but I can’t win the Champions League.

“Our opposition would have been much bigger than we are, so therefore our balance sheet size might become an issue. So I just decided we needed a bit of muscle behind us.”

Salmon already has a number of big-ticket clients on its books, including CRH, the building materials giant Avolon, the aircraft lessor, and Ryanair.

It has developed a software system that enables customers to automate treasury management processes, providing information on debt, derivatives, foreign exchange, banking, cash management and payments.

The system delivers efficiencies that save on costs, ensure full regulatory compliance and provide real-time business insights, the company says.

Byrne said Salmon had grown incrementally over the years, keeping abreast of technological developments and offering high-quality treasury management services to its customers.

“We just kept ploughing a lonely furrow, and it gradually grew. And we started to get bigger and better clients, and we’ve had some of them for around 30 years.”

With its added financial clout, the Enterprise Ireland-backed company expects to be able to compete for more contracts.

“We expect to be included in a lot more RFPs (requests for proposal) than we would have been before,” Byrne said.

The structure at Salmon has shifted since Melior’s investment. The company appointed a new chief financial officer.

“There’s a bigger corporate structure around Salmon now,” Byrne said. “Everybody’s buying into it, and everybody sees it as exciting. They’ve been very positive, and very supportive.”

The treasury management software industry is now valued at €1 billion, meaning Salmon Software has significant scope for growth. Technological advancements mean the biggest companies are likely to have access to real-time cash information in the near future, meaning they can make better decisions about their expenditure.

“If you go back to when I started the business, you’d be getting this information a week later,” Byrne said. “You’d have to get your statements from the bank, and print them out and put them into an Excel spreadsheet.

“That’s all changed in recent years, and now you’re making a decision this morning on what your position was last night. But in the next year or so, I would expect that to be: this is your cash position right now.”