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Finance Wales annual review 2015/16

Highlights for the 2015-16 financial year

  • 3,058 jobs created or safeguarded through Finance Wales’ financing activities. 102% of target.
  • £110.5 million growth capital injected into Welsh micro to medium-sized business sector:
    • £45.6 million from Welsh Government and EU-backed funds managed by Finance Wales.
    • £64.9 million leveraged from private sector sources.  Up 15% year-on- year.
  • 201 investments in 185 Welsh businesses. Number of businesses up 12% year-on-year.
  • Investments by FW Capital were up 7% year-on-year to £17.4 million.
  • £151.9 million new Welsh Government and EU-backed funds arranged/launched. Finance Wales’ investment capability now stands at £195.5 million
  • Future strategic direction underpinned by appointment of new Chairman, Gareth Bullock and new Chief Executive, Giles Thorley.

More than 3000 jobs were created or safeguarded in Wales through investments provided by Finance Wales last year. In the 2015/16 financial year 201 investments were made in 185 Welsh businesses – from £1k to multi-million pound deals.

Finance Wales managed funds provided investments of £45.6 million, with an additional £64.9 million being leveraged from private sources.

“I’m pleased Finance Wales continues to play a supportive role in the Welsh economy,” explained new Finance Wales CEO Giles Thorley.

“In the last financial year our investments, combined with those of the funders we work with, protected the Welsh economy and filled a gap in Welsh SMEs’ short and long-term growth capital requirements of over £110 million. The impact of these investments can be felt across Wales, backing established businesses, encouraging entrepreneurial new businesses as well as attracting businesses to Wales.” 

September 2015 saw Finance Wales make its final investment from the Wales JEREMIE Fund, having invested £157.5 million in 600 Welsh SMEs between 2009 and 2015. This year a number of new funds will be available to Welsh SMEs – including the Wales Management Succession Fund which launched in April 2016 and the Wales Business Fund which will launch this September.

“Despite a sometimes volatile stock market and the falling price of commodities such as oil and gas, Welsh businesses are succeeding. While global economic uncertainty has meant that many companies have been reluctant to grow we have seen renewed confidence in the SME market in the last quarter. Through our funds we’re in a position to help new and established businesses to grow and strengthen their market positions,” added Mr Thorley.

Finance Wales also manages a number of other teams and investments. In 2015/16 its North of England operation FW Capital safeguarded 482 jobs and created a further 867 jobs. The North East Growth Plus Fund has recently been topped up by an additional £3.75 million which will enable the FW Capital team to help yet more businesses in the region.

xénos, the Wales Business Angel Network exceeded its target by 14% to facilitate 14 business angel investments totalling £2.8 million.  These investments leveraged an additional £1.4 million of investment, including xénos’ largest ever investment of £900,000.

The Help to Buy – Wales scheme, managed by Finance Wales on behalf of the Welsh Government, provided equity loans for more than 1700 home purchases in 2015/16. With Phase 2 of the scheme going live later this year even more people living here will be able to get a foot on, or progress up, the housing ladder.

“Finance Wales has evolved considerably since it was established and today it delivers an increasing number of financial policy priorities cost effectively for the Welsh Government, including the Help To Buy – Wales scheme,” added Finance Wales Chairman Gareth Bullock.

“We will build on Finance Wales’ strengths and expertise in 2016 – 17 to create a development bank for Wales that reflects manifesto commitments and harnesses Welsh businesses’ potential to achieve an even greater impact on Wales’ future economic development.”