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24 May 2012

FW Capital’s loans in the North West top the £6.5 million mark

Press Release 24th May 2012

Just over a year since making its first loan from The North West Fund for Business Loans, FW Capital has lent over £6.5 million to 42 established businesses in the North West.  FW Capital's backing has enabled these businesses to focus on their long-term growth plans and some have already received further loans.

FW Capital fund manager, Gary Guest is delighted that demand for loans from the £35 million fund is keeping his nine-strong team in the North West busy. 

"With all eyes on SMEs to drive the UK's economic recovery, we're delighted to have lent over £6.5 million so far.  We've seen some high-quality business plans and I'm pleased there are even more in the pipeline.  Added to this, it's great to see demand coming from a wide range of sectors, including manufacturing, engineering and business services," Guest explained.

FW Capital can lend between £50,000 and £250,000 at a time and can make additional loans to businesses as they expand.

The North West Fund for Business Loans is a sub-fund of the £185m evergreen North West Fund that is jointly financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Investment Bank (EIB).

"It's encouraging to meet so many management teams determined to succeed despite what the current economic climate is throwing at them.  They're thinking long-term, focusing on their customers and actively looking for opportunities to expand," Guest continued.

Since setting up in the North West, the FW Capital team has focused on building relationships with banks and advisers in Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside.

Guest is convinced that a flexible, collaborative approach has worked well: "Many businesses have been pleasantly surprised that we've been able to work with their bank to come up with the right deal for them.  The North West Fund for Business Loans' lending criteria means we look at deals differently and can consider cash flow-based loans.  We don't just accept or reject on the basis of available security."

FW Capital is working with banks and SMEs on a wide range of funding requirements, such as: stock purchases; capital expenditure to fulfill new orders; purchasing owner-occupied premises as well as helping banks with LTV constraints. 

Earlier this year, the established Crewe-based company, SG World secured a £250,000 loan to complete a £5million loan and working capital package led by Lloyds TSB Commercial.

"Our £250,000 loan turned out to be an important final part of the lending package for this prominent North West business. Working with Lloyds TSB Commercial to complete the loan quickly is another example of how we're working with banks and other funders to make sure our loans are making a difference to a range of growing businesses in the North West." Explained Guest. 

 Other examples of our loans include: 

  • £100,000 growth capital for The Liverpool Recruitment Company, enabling it to expand its team and target new clients.
  • £225,000 loan for retail software and services company, Azurri to extend its position in the charity retail sector.
  • £120,000 loan to provide Expac Preston with working capital to expand its product range and cover relocation costs 
  • £200,000 loan for Maghull-based Control Valve Solutions to purchase new equipment
  • £200,000 loan to help leading UK welding equipment wholesaler Wilkinson Star expand its product range, improve stock levels and increase sales.

According to Guest, a local approach has also played a crucial role in lending the £6.5 million: "Being locally based means we can get to know businesses and demonstrate our on-going commitment to their success.   Once we've made our initial loan, we can be there to support them with further loans as they grow."

Andy Leach, chief executive of North West Business Finance, the not-for-profit company set up to deliver The North West Fund said: "I'm delighted with the impact that The North West Fund for Business Loans is having in supporting North West SMEs for whom traditional bank funding is not currently available, either at all or to the extent required, to fund their growth plans.  FW Capital is doing an excellent job in working with the banks and the established debt funders to ensure that their customers can raise critical funding for growth at the point in the economic cycle where SMEs are rightly considered to be the engine for our future growth."

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