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Ireland's NPRF forges Silicon Valley Bank partnership

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IRELAND - The National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) has agreed a $100m (€80m) partnership with Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) that will see the company invest in the country's technology sector.

Although the Irish reserve fund will not supply any of the $100m capital, it will work with SVB in identifying companies suitable for loans.

Having recently expanded out of the US by opening a London office, the bank will also base a full-time representative in the Republic.

In a separate transaction, the Irish reserve fund has also committed an undisclosed sum to one of the technology-focused funds managed by SVB Capital.

Commenting on the deal, NPRF commission chair Paul Carty said: "Bringing Silicon Valley Bank's expertise and understanding of emerging and high-growth companies to Ireland will have a significant and positive impact on the ability of our vibrant innovation sector to reach its long-term growth potential."

Greg Becker, president and chief executive at SVB, meanwhile praised the Irish government and the NPRF for their "proactive approach" in attracting the company to Ireland.

The commitment to SVB Capital's unnamed fund follows a recent joint investment in one by Sofinnova Ventures.

As part of the agreement, the US venture capital firm also agreed to open an office in Dublin.

The NPRF has indicated that it will look to invest in local SMEs, as well as infrastructure, as part of its shift towards a more domestic investment strategy.

The government is currently drafting revised investment guidelines for the €5.8bn discretionary portfolio, while it has already committed €250m to an Irish infrastructure fund run by AMP Capital that recently acquired a controlling stake in domestic wind farms.

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