Carlyle Cardinal Ireland Invests in Lily O’Brien’s

Carlyle Cardinal Ireland Invests in Lily O’Brien’s

lilys nfCarlyle Cardinal Ireland (CCI), the Irish private equity fund founded by The Carlyle Group and Cardinal Capital Group, has made a significant investment in Lily O’Brien’s, an Irish manufacturer of chocolates and desserts.

Equity for this investment comes from CCI, a new fund that invests in small and medium-sized businesses across Ireland. Founder Mary Ann O’Brien will continue to play an active role within the company.

“Lily O’Brien’s is a great example of an Irish business with a world-class reputation. We are delighted to join the founder and management team to continue to grow the business. The company’s growth has accelerated in recent years, thanks to their unique recipes delivering award-winning products fuelling increasing demand in the domestic and international marketplace,” said Robert Easton, Managing Director of CCI. “Our investment will help Lily O’Brien’s takes their chocolates and desserts to an even wider audience of consumers around the world.”

Lily O’Brien’s was founded in 1992 in the home kitchen of Mary Ann O’Brien and has grown into a global brand name now employing 260 people at peak production times. The company sells its products via its company website ( and also supplies branded products to retailers and airlines. The company is based in Kildare, Ireland.

Lily O’Brien’s has driven strong product growth outside of the UK and Ireland, with 2012 sales to Australia increasing by 370% between 2011 and 2012, and sales to the US increasing by 100% in the same period.

“While we have grown Lily O’Brien’s from a kitchen table business into an international brand, the investment from CCI, along with CCI’s global network should ensure Lily O’Brien’s continues to grow to the next level. The CCI team has a proven track record of working with businesses such as ours and we are excited about what we can achieve in the coming years,” said Mary Ann O’Brien.

The Carlyle Group invests in buyouts, growth capital, real estate and leveraged finance in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America. The firm employs 1,450 people in 34 offices across six continents and is based in Washington, DC (

Cardinal Capital Group is an alternative investment management firm with interests in hedge funds, private equity and real estate. The firm was founded in 2003 by Nigel McDermott and Nick Corcoran and has offices in London and Dublin (

© 2014 PEPD • Private Equity’s Leading News Magazine • 1-29-14

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