Monday, January 5, 2015

News: Finance Yorkshire invests full £90m

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Regional funding body, Finance Yorkshire has fully invested its £90m fund into companies in Yorkshire and Humber and the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is hoping to established a similar vehicle to continue to provide access to finance in the Sheffield city region.

The £90m fund had three investment teams, Seedcorn Finance, Business Loans and Equity Linked Investments. It secured £45m from the European Investment Bank, together with £30m investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and £15m from the Government via Yorkshire Forward.

Finance Yorkshire is the first European JEREMIE (Joint European Resources for Micro to medium Enterprise) initiative to become fully invested in England. The fund has made 694 investments in businesses across Yorkshire and Humber, creating and safeguarding 8,716 jobs and increasing overall turnover in the region by £223m up to this point in time.

Rotherham firms securing funding include AME Group Ltd, Xeros, Approved Food, Sterecycle, RediRack, S3-ID, Xiang Trading Ltd and Labfacility. Whilst Redirack and Sterecycle have since gone into administration, S3-ID was acquired by Singapore listed CSE Global in a £7m deal, Approved Food has expanded into larger premises in Sheffield and Xeros went on to raise millions through floating on the London Stock Exchange.

Alex McWhirter, chief executive of Finance Yorkshire, said: "I am delighted that we are the first JEREMIE fund to become fully invested in England. Despite operating in a challenging economic climate, we have exceeded our performance targets. It’s a success story of which Yorkshire and Humber can be proud.

"Many SMEs across the region have found it difficult to access finance via the traditional routes over recent years. We have been able to provide investment to fill this finance gap for many businesses, enabling them to expand and create jobs in the region.

"The Fund will now be managed through the next five years during which time it is anticipated that a significant legacy fund can be created for the region for investment back into more businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber.

"Finance Yorkshire is working with stakeholders to secure further funding to ensure there is continuity to business investment in the region during 2015 and we expect to make a further announcement on this very soon."

In September the Sheffield City Region LEP board agreed to pursue the development of a loan and equity funding using the JEREMIE model and a Holding Fund, with recommendations for fund managers to be made by February 2015.

James Newman, chairman of Finance Yorkshire is also chairman of the Sheffield City Region LEP. He said: "This is a significant milestone for everyone associated with the fund. Finance Yorkshire's investments have given businesses a timely boost that has led to other private sector direct investment and more employment opportunities being created. With growth firmly back on the business agenda, the economic impact of this fund cannot be underestimated.

"It is, therefore, vital that a second JEREMIE fund is created in 2015 so that all the good work done by Finance Yorkshire is not lost and it can continue to support businesses in Yorkshire and Humber. I am hoping that all four of the Yorkshire and Humber LEPs will support this important initiative so we can all build on the excellent performance so far for the benefit of the region's economy."

Finance Yorkshire website

Images: Finance Yorkshire

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