First deal announced for £70m Investment Fund for Northern Ireland

Press release 09 April 2024

Whiterock facilitates £100k loan for The Bucks Head Inn in Dundrum.

The British Business Bank has announced the first deal from the Investment Fund for Northern Ireland after fund manager, Whiterock, facilitated a £100,000 loan to The Bucks Head Inn in Dundrum.

The £70million fund offers a range of commercial finance options including debt finance and equity investment to support businesses from all sectors in Northern Ireland and at different growth stages.

Whiterock manages the debt fund, offering loans of £25,000 up to £2million while Clarendon Fund Managers provide equity stakes in smaller businesses up to £5million.

Under new owners, Alex Greene and Bronagh McCormick, the popular Co Down restaurant, bar and guestrooms has undergone a major refurbishment ahead of its grand re-opening later this month.

Alex and Bronagh plan on building upon the excellent reputation of The Bucks Head, refreshing its gastro pub food offering with a focus on local produce and seafood specialities.

It’s a homecoming for talented Dundrum chef, Alex Greene who began his career washing dishes and preparing vegetables in The Bucks Head. Alex went on to work in restaurants around the world including Michelin star establishments, most recently at Deanes EIPIC where he was Head Chef.

He also starred in two seasons of the Great British Menu and has appeared in the BBC series, B&B By The Sea.

At Deanes, Alex worked alongside his business partner, Bronagh, who was General Manager of the Deanes Restaurant Group for 13 years. Bronagh has a hospitality degree and has spent her whole career working within the hospitality sector.

The Investment Fund for Northern Ireland loan is being utilised across a number of areas within the business, including the refurbishment of the premises, a new kitchen, an upgrade of three upstairs guestrooms, and the recruitment of staff.

Bronagh said the timing was right for her and Alex to make the move to Dundrum.

She said: “The Bucks Head is somewhere which means a great deal to Alex and, as the previous owners were retiring, we felt the time was right to go into business together.

“Dating back to the eighteenth century, The Bucks Head is extremely well known and is thought of very highly, both locally and further afield – everyone we speak to seems to have a story about the place.

“We see The Bucks Head as having enormous potential. It is a venue which is full of charm and character, and we are really looking forward to getting started.

“The Investment Fund for Northern Ireland loan has supported us in bringing our vision for The Bucks Head to life and driving the next stage of growth. We found the team at Whiterock very accommodating to work with and the process was straight-forward and efficient. We are delighted with how everything went so smoothly.”

Alex Greene is a hugely talented chef who is passionate about sustainability and farm to fork produce while Bronagh McCormick is vastly experienced working at the very highest levels of the hospitality industry.

I have no doubt they will build upon the already excellent reputation of The Bucks Head by serving outstanding local produce and transforming it into a real destination for foodies.

It’s really pleasing to announce the Investment Fund for Northern Ireland’s first deal. Helping businesses with great potential on their growth journey is exactly what the fund is about, and I wish Alex and Bronagh all the best for their new venture.

Mark Sterritt British Business Bank Director, Nations and Regions Investment Funds

At Whiterock we are delighted to be working in partnership with Alex and Bronagh as they embark on this exciting opportunity at the renowned The Bucks Head in Dundrum.

As a team they have an impressive blend of skills, experience and passion which will attract custom from locals and tourists alike, and we look forward to seeing the business flourish over the next number of years.

This is a fantastic first deal for Whiterock as one of the fund managers for the Investment Fund for Northern Ireland, and we are excited about the strong pipeline of enquiries and the opportunity to support a wide variety of businesses throughout Northern Ireland.

Una Warnock Whiterock Investment Director

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