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11/11/2014

2014-15 financial year half year update

  •  £19.8 million invested – investment levels in Wales ahead of target.
  •  £15.9 million additional investment leveraged.
  • 1,263 jobs created and safeguarded and 4,698 in the last 18 months.
  • 2 of Finance Wales’ most profitable exits/investment realisations achieved.
  • 4 Welsh SMEs backed by the Wales Capital Growth Fund.
  • Wales Technology Seed Fund launched. 
  • Responsible Business Strategy launched

Finance Wales exceeded its investment target for the first half of the 2014 – 15 financial year, investing £19.8 million in Wales.  These investments attracted £15.9 million additional investment to provide Welsh SMEs with a £35.7 million growth capital injection.

Loans and other investments from Finance Wales helped Welsh SMEs create and safeguard 1,263 jobs in the first half of 2014 – 15.  Finance Wales’ investments have helped Welsh SMEs create or safeguard 4,698 jobs in the last 18 months.

The Welsh Government subsidiary also achieved 2 of its most profitable investment realisations to date, exiting from Vista Retail Support (4.5X return) in May and Wholebake (5.5X return) in July.  With Finance Wales’ backing, both Vista and Wholebake expanded their operations and took on more staff in Wales.

The 2014 – 15 financial year has also seen the launch of the Wales Capital Growth and Wales Technology Seed Funds.  Finance Wales has made 3 more investments from the Capital Growth Fund since its first £1 million investment in Newport-based Pro-Steel.

These, and the other Welsh Government funds launched since 2012, have boosted Finance Wales’ ability to back SMEs’ specific short and long-term funding needs and are helping to increase the company’s impact on the Welsh economy.

Commenting on the Group’s half-year performance, Chairman, Ian Johnson said:  “The last financial year was a record year for the Finance Wales Group and I’m pleased Finance Wales’ investments in Wales are ahead of target this year.  Finance Wales can now offer a broader range of tailored funding options thanks to the Welsh Government funds it has launched since 2012.

“These funds are having an increasingly significant impact on the Welsh economy, helping to attract additional investment capital, increasing employment opportunities, encouraging innovation as well as creating opportunities for local suppliers.  Investment from Finance Wales is also continuing to attract businesses to Wales.”

The impact of investments from Finance Wales’ largest fund, the Wales JEREMIE Fund was recognised with Big Tick at Business in the Community’s (BITC) 2014 Wales Responsible Businesses Awards in June.  September also saw Finance Wales launch its first responsible business strategy.

Group Investment Director, Mike Owen said: “Both Vista and Wholebake demonstrate the success Welsh businesses can achieve when they combine a robust business plan with Finance Wales’ long-term financial backing and locally based support.  They also demonstrate how Finance Wales’ investments are driving growth throughout Wales.

“Our investment levels in the first half of 2014 – 15 are ahead of target and a clear indication of the renewed confidence Welsh SMEs are displaying.  They’re actively looking for - and winning - new contracts and we now have even more flexibility to help them think bigger.”

With more funds, a 1,300-strong portfolio of current investments as well as increasing demand for investment, Finance Wales has also boosted its investment and portfolio teams.  Added to this, the Wales JEREMIE Fund is now in its final investment year and the company is keen to ensure as many SMEs benefit from its investments.

Finance Wales will relocate its Cardiff headquarters to the Central Cardiff Enterprise Zone when the lease on its Park Place offices expires in December 2014.

By the end of September 2014, Welsh SMEs have benefitted from £353 million of investment from Finance Wales.  These investments have also leveraged additional investment totalling £510 million, taking its total impact on the Welsh economy to £863 million.  With Finance Wales’ backing, Welsh SMEs have created or safeguarded 39,085 jobs in Wales.

For more information visit our Performance & Impact page