Praetura Group, the Manchester-based debt and equity capital provider to northern SMEs, provided more than GBP75 million of funding to SMEs in the first quarter of 2021, with demand continuing to rise.
The lending division of the Praetura Group, which comprises Praetura Commercial Finance and the Praetura Asset Finance Group, has seen its highest quarterly lending levels since it was founded in 2011.
Praetura Commercial Finance, which provides asset-based lending (ABL) solutions to SMEs, has enjoyed its best quarter to date, having completed transactions totalling GBP50.5 million in Q1 2021. All of these deals were management buyouts (MBOs) and 60 per cent were private equity sponsored. Highlights included supporting Skelmersdale-based CRP Subsea – previously named Trelleborg Offshore UK – on its MBO from parent company Trelleborg Group in March, and the MBO of Bolton-based Pearl Window Systems, one of the UK’s leading fabricators of UPVc windows, doors and conservatory roof systems. Recently the business reached a significant new milestone having successfully funded GBP1.5 billion of assets to date. Praetura Commercial Finance unlocks the value in debtors, stock, plant and machinery, and property, as well as providing cash flow loans to maximise headroom in transactions.
The Praetura Asset Finance Group, an independent asset finance funder, lent more than GBP18.5 million through asset finance and term-loan facilities. The group saw a 20 per cent increase in the number of deals completed compared to the same period the prior year.
Praetura Ventures, which backs ambitious northern businesses in high-growth sectors, invested more than GBP7 million between January and March. Its recent investments include Maxwellia, a pioneering drug company based in Alderley Park which is poised to transform the UK’s self-care market, Manchester-based communications platform PixelMax, and tech for good platforms Transreport and Enthuse.
The venture capital investor, which raised close to GBP40 million in the past two years across four funds, recently announced the appointment of four industry heavyweights as operational partners to bring significant experience to support the founders and entrepreneurs it backs.
Praetura said demand for its debt and equity funding remains high among SMEs, boosted by the North’s start-up culture, an improving economy and desire to benefit from the group’s ‘more than money’ approach, which combines advice and expertise with funding for businesses.
Stuart Bates, Commercial Director of Praetura Commercial Finance, says: “This is an exciting time in the evolution of our business and for Praetura Group as we seek to structure and deliver solutions that will enable SMEs to drive a vitally important ingredient in today’s business world – agility. SMEs are the backbone of the UK economy and it is critical that they are able to obtain both the level and flexibility of funding they need to maximise every opportunity to grow with confidence as they emerge from the pandemic. All of our clients have direct access to the founders and directors of our business, which ensures a relationship-driven approach and, importantly, the speed to execute transactions to tight timescales – a key feature of the market.”
Peadar O’Reilly, managing director of Praetura Group’s lending division, says: “The range of businesses our funding is assisting across the whole of the Praetura Group continues to expand. But we are an ambitious company and naturally we want to do more: we want the funding we provide to be able to help even more SMEs.
“Now more than ever SMEs need the support of funders who will be client-focused and adaptable to specific individual circumstances. Activity in the market is rapidly gathering momentum, with entrepreneurs and owner-managed business re-assessing their business’ growth plans post-pandemic, and with potential tax changes on the horizon. We have built talented teams throughout the Praetura Group that provide the support, experience and dedication founders looking to scale need from a partner. As our strapline says, we’re here to provide ‘more than money’ and that ethos will never change.”