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19 April 2012

Record quarter for The North West Fund

Press Release 19th April 2012

  • £9.6million invested by The North West Fund in 30 businesses during January, February and March
  • Amount is equivalent to 88% of total value of investments made during 2011
  • Strong pipeline of deals for remainder of 2012

The North West Fund has recorded its busiest ever quarter after investing £9.6million in 30 businesses during the first three months of 2012.

The figure, the largest investment in a quarter by The North West Fund since it was launched in December 2010, represents 88% of the total amount invested during the whole of 2011.

To the end of March, The North West Fund, a £185million evergreen fund that provides debt and equity funding, had invested £20.5million of funding into 83 businesses, of which 14 have received more than one round of funding. The investments are spread across the region and across the six sub-funds.

Andy Leach, Chief Executive of North West Business Finance, which manages The North West Fund, said the pipeline of future deals was strong for the remainder of 2012, with investments likely to be made across the region and its dedicated sub-funds for Business Loans, Venture Capital, Development Capital, Energy & Environmental, Biomedical and Digital & Creative.

Key deals completed during Q1 of 2012 included:

  • A £120,000 loan from The North West Fund for Business Loans to finance the expansion of Maghull-based Control Valve Solutions.
  • The investment by The North West Fund for Venture Capital into Liverpool Science Park-based software developer ScraperWiki.
  • A £950,000 investment intoTrafford Park-based Zutux, a bespoke furniture manufacturer, by The North West Fund for Development Capital.
  • An investment into Imperative Energy by The North West Fund for Energy & Environmental which saw the business move from Ireland to Sandbach, Cheshire.
  • A pathfinder investment from The North West Fund for Biomedical into Manchester-based Rapid Rhythm,  a collaboration between its founders, TrusTech Ventures and the Manchester NHS Trust,  which has developed a hand held device to enable the rapid diagnosis of Atrial Fibrillation.
  • A six-figure follow-on investment into Lancaster-based advertising business Azullo by The North West Fund for Digital & Creative.

Andy Leach said: "2011 was all about establishing The North West Fund, creating awareness and inspiring the region's entrepreneurs to apply for funding to grow their businesses.  2012 is now about delivering a step-up in investment completions as we capitalise on the momentum established in 2011.  As our investment rate over the past four months is more than five times that of the previous 11, we are demonstrably moving through the gears".

"We are delighted with how the first quarter went and particularly with how each sub-fund has made key investments in exciting businesses. Crucially, we are confident about the rest of the year. Our new investment pipeline is very strong, and we expect to provide increasing amounts of follow-on funding to those portfolio businesses that have achieved their initial plans and have further growth potential."

In March alone, The North West Fund invested £5.5million in 17 businesses, including seven follow-on investments.

To the end of March, The North West Fund's total of £20.5million investment was supplemented by £18.6million of funding from the private sector. To date, some 30% of investment by value has been in Merseyside.

The North West Fund is a £185million evergreen fund provided by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to supply debt and equity funding to growing small and medium-sized enterprises in the North West of England, or those wanting to move to the region.

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