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12/06/2013

Investment levels up as Finance Wales invests more than £31 million in Welsh SMEs in 2012 - 13

Welsh SMEs’ appetite for growth investment increased in the 2012 – 13 financial year.  Finance Wales invested over £31 million in 189 Welsh SMEs during the year – up 20% on the previous year.

The Welsh Government subsidiary made a mix of new and follow-on investments at all growth stages which leveraged an additional £22 million investment in Welsh SMEs.

Welsh SMEs have benefitted from £256 million of investment from Finance Wales since it was established in 2001.  Finance Wales’ investment has also leveraged £434 million of additional investment, taking the company’s total impact on the Welsh economy to £690 million.

Demand for loans of up to £25,000 (micro loans) more than doubled during the year and investment in start-up and early-stage businesses increased by 80% as Finance Wales invested £9 million in high-growth, IP-rich Welsh technology-based businesses.

The company also exited from 5 of its equity investments, achieving its largest equity realisation to date with a 2.4X return on its investment in Usk-based Unite Technologies.

New Investments Fund Manager, Mike Owen said: “Finance Wales has been backing Welsh SMEs at all growth stages since 2001.  We’ve continued to invest through the tough economic conditions we’ve been experiencing since 2008.  Business confidence has been impacted greatly by a number of factors recently, but I’m pleased that more Welsh SMEs secured investment in 2012 -13.

“We currently have £100 million available for ambitious businesses with commercially viable business plans.  Finance Wales looks at each investment on an individual basis to come up with a suitable funding package.  I’m looking forward to seeing our investment levels continuing to grow this financial year as business confidence returns.”

Finance Wales also started investing two new Welsh Government funds (the Wales SME Investment Fund and the Wales Micro-business Loan Fund) which made an additional £46 million capital available to a wider range of Welsh SMEs and micro-businesses.
 
It has recently started investing the new £10 million Wales Property Development Fund which provides finance for smaller-scale commercial and residential property developers.

Ian Johnson, Finance Wales’ Chairman said: “Finance Wales is a leading SME investor with a vital and increasingly important role in the Welsh economy.  It has pioneered the development of investment funds for SMEs and the Wales JEREMIE Fund is recognised as one of the most successful of its type.  Welsh SMEs can now access the most comprehensive source of growth capital available in the UK today from Finance Wales.”