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British Business Bank Investments Ltd commits £18m to northwest-based asset finance provider, enabling a £36m boost to smaller business growth

British Business Bank Investments Ltd today announces an £18m investment in Blackburn and Manchester-based Praetura Asset Finance.

The investment, comprising £15m of matched funding and an additional £3m of expansion capital, will support at least £36m of smaller business finance. This is the first British Business Bank Investments Ltd transaction to combine matched and unmatched funding in this way.

Praetura Asset Finance provides asset-based finance, hire purchase, finance leasing and refinancing facilities of between £10k and £2m to businesses across a variety of sectors, including construction and plant, engineering, printing, transport, waste and recycling, and agriculture.

Catherine Lewis La Torre, CEO of British Business Bank Investments Ltd, said:

“British Business Bank’s recent Small Business Finance Markets Report indicated strong growth in asset finance volumes over the last two years, and we see asset finance as an important option for smaller businesses looking to realise their growth potential.

“We are keen to support the growing demand for this type of finance and are pleased to be making this investment in Praetura Asset Finance. By supporting relative newcomers to the market – Praetura was established in 2014 – we are actively increasing lending choices for smaller businesses across the UK.”

Mike Hartley, Managing Director of Praetura Asset Finance Ltd, said:

“We are delighted at Praetura to be partnering with British Business Bank Investments Ltd. The syndication of our senior debt, alongside the expansion capital facility, provides us with real stability to support our continued growth.

“Like our other institutional funders, British Business Bank Investments Ltd shares our aim of providing suitable and targeted finance solutions for SMEs. These facilities will help meet the objectives of both parties, and to secure Praetura’s market position in the coming years.”

Simon Goldie, Head of Asset Finance at the Finance and Leasing Association, added:

“This latest announcement shows the increasing prominence of asset finance in small business funding. We welcome this new investment, which will enable another FLA member firm, Praetura Asset Finance, to help even more firms grow and prosper in the UK economy.”

British Business Bank Investments Ltd makes loans to or investments in finance providers to smaller businesses. It acts as a catalyst to increase both supply and diversity of finance for smaller businesses, while earning an attractive, commercial return for the UK taxpayer.

Asset Finance is becoming an increasingly popular choice for smaller businesses, with FLA figures showing growth in asset finance new business (primarily leasing and hire purchase) of 11% in 2015 to £28.1bn (excluding high value deals). This is the market’s second consecutive year of double-digit growth.

 

ENDS

For further information please contact

Tom Nutt, Tom.Nutt@wearesevenhills.com – 0207 199 6191

Scott Shearer, Scott.Shearer@british-business-bank.co.uk

 

Notes to editors

About Praetura Asset Finance

Established in January 2014, Praetura Asset Finance provides funding to SMEs via Hire Purchase & Leasing facilities, as well as refinancing or freeing up of equity from capital assets. Since launching, Praetura has advanced more than £75m to businesses.

Praetura Asset Finance Ltd is the first independently owned asset finance company to enter the UK marketplace for 15 years. As Praetura are not owned by a bank, the company can be more flexible and provide funding solutions, faster than many major banks and finance houses.

About British Business Bank Investments Ltd

British Business Bank Investments Ltd is the commercial arm of the British Business Bank. It aims to earn a commercial return by investing – through finance providers – in smaller businesses and small mid-caps, pursuing investments on a fully commercial basis without receiving any advantage from the government.

British Business Bank Investments Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of British Business Bank plc, the UK government’s economic development bank. Neither entity is authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

British Business Bank plc and its principal operating subsidiaries are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. A complete legal structure chart for British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries can be found on the British Business Bank plc website.

British Business Bank Investments Ltd’s expansion capital initiative, developed as part of its Investment Programme, enables it to support the development of diverse debt finance markets more effectively, without the need for match funding.

About the British Business Bank and Asset Finance

As well as supporting small Asset Finance providers through its commercial arm’s Investment programme, the British Business Bank helps slightly larger Asset Finance providers to access capital markets more cost efficiently through its ENABLE Funding programme. It also plans to introduce a new asset finance variant of its flagship Enterprise Finance Guarantee programme later in 2016.

The British Business Bank/ICAEW/BBA guide to Asset Finance for advisers and businesses is downloadable from the British Business Bank website.

The Business Finance Guide, jointly published by the British Business Bank and the ICAEW’s Corporate Finance Faculty, is a unique, impartial guide that sets out the full range of options available for smaller businesses looking to raise finance – including asset finance. It also offers advice to help businesses plan for growth.