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‘Positive Welsh market despite longer term Brexit uncertainty’ – Giles Thorley

Finance Wales has helped create or safeguard more than 2,000 Welsh jobs since the start of April 2016. More than £26.7 million has been directly invested into Welsh small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with an additional £23.1 million leveraged from private sources since new Chief Executive Giles Thorley took over the helm.

“We’re finding that the business market in Wales is still positive despite the longer term uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote,” explained Chief Executive Giles Thorley. “There is a great entrepreneurial spirit here. Since joining the Finance Wales team in April I have been impressed by the tenacity and ambition of business owners and companies in Wales. Since then we’ve supported 26 start-up companies as well as continuing to invest in a number of early stage and established businesses.”

£990 million managed by Finance Wales

Finance Wales, one of the UK’s largest regional funders of development finance, now manages close to £1 billion across all SME investment funds and Help to Buy – Wales. In the last 12 months Finance Wales launched the European Regional Development Fund and Welsh Government-backed £136 million Wales Business Fund and a new £25 million Wales Management Succession Fund, as well as having a number of other funds increased.

“We’ve supported more than 100 Welsh companies with succession and we’re seeing more come through the door since the launch of the Wales Management Succession Fund in April,” explained Thorley. “There are a lot of ambitious management teams eager to keep successful Welsh businesses alive and kicking. We’re also finding business owners, looking to move on, working with existing talent in their teams. Family businesses, especially in the tourism sector, are realising their options through our succession funding.”

Businesses in Wales can apply to Finance Wales for debt, equity and mezzanine finance. Funding starts from £1,000 and goes up to £3 million per investment round. Up to £5 million can be invested in any one SME over multiple funds and rounds.

“In the past six months we’ve been able to help a number of ambitious Welsh businesses through investments, creating or safeguarding thousands of jobs,” said Finance Wales Chairman Gareth Bullock. “Finance Wales has also achieved close to a 1:1 ratio of private sector leverage since April. Our investment teams have worked closely with banks and other funders to deliver for SMEs in Wales. We’re looking forward to building on our existing co-investment relationships as well as creating new ones over the next six months.”

Since it was founded in 2001 Finance Wales has helped create or safeguard 43,697 jobs having invested £409 million across more than 2,650 businesses.

Help to Buy – Wales extended

This year Help to Buy – Wales was extended to 2021, with the fund increased by £284 million to a total of £454 million. The scheme, which is managed by Finance Wales on behalf of Welsh Government, offers equity loans to people in Wales looking to buy a new home. Since April 973 new builds have been bought. Help to Buy - Wales has helped with the purchase of 4,062 properties since it began in January 2014.

“We’re pleased to have helped people buy more than 900 homes through Help to Buy – Wales,” explained Thorley. “This scheme helps Welsh people on to the property ladder, as well as providing a boost to the residential development sector.”

Thorley added: “The UK and international market has at times been volatile and unstable following the Brexit vote in June however we at Finance Wales have continued to be able to support Welsh businesses. There is, and continues to be an appetite for investment and business growth in Wales.”

Key statistics for 1 April 2016 to 30 September 2016 

  • Finance Wales can invest from £1,000 up to £3 million in a single funding round.
  • Finance Wales newest fund, the £136 million Wales Business Fund was launched in September and will run for seven years.
  • Finance Wales manages over half a billion pounds across all business funds.
  • Finance Wales also manages the £454 million Help to Buy – Wales fund.
  • 2,184 jobs created or safeguarded in Wales.
  • £26.7m invested in Welsh SMEs (fewer than 250 employees).
  • £23.1m additional investment from banks and other private-sector funders.
  • £49.8m growth capital injected into the Welsh economy.
  • Finance Wales made 130 investments, supporting 122 enterprises.