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Billionaire Weise pledges backing to Yorkshire lender

Christo Wiese, one of South Africa’s richest men, is forecasting further growth for Yorkshire lender Reward Capital.

The billionaire, who is reported to be circling department store chain BHS, is a major backer of Leeds-based Reward.

Mr Wiese’s Tradehold investment company owns 71% of Reward Investments, which operates asset based lender Reward Capital alongside invoice discounting facility provider Reward Commercial Finance.

“We remain convinced of the very considerable potential of Reward which, in an environment of restricted lending by the UK banks, is creating a niche for itself,” said Mr Wiese.

He said that Reward remained “highly vigilant” of clients defaulting on payments and that as a result the company had not incurred any bad debts.

He added that Reward would continue to thrive in the current climate.

“Even if this situation were to change, I believe there is a permanent place for its services,” Mr Wiese said.

Mr Wiese was speaking on the back of Tradehold’s published half year results as Reward revealed that operating profits had leapt by a 50% to £1.5m for the six months ended August 31st.

Earlier this year, Reward, run by Dave Jones and Tom Flannery, posted an operating profit of £2.04m for the year to February 28th.

Mr Jones said there were further exciting opportunities for Reward moving forward.

“Reward has enjoyed a strong 2013 so far and we are extremely optimistic about the future,” he said.

“As key indicators continue to suggest that the UK economy’s recovery continues at pace, we feel Reward is in a strong position to capitalise as the recovery accelerates. We feel our ability to move quickly will see enhanced demand as business confidence grows in line with the recovery.”

The two Reward businesses launched with an original fund of £7m in 2011 with an additional £5m being raised last year.

Reward’s average deal size to the small and medium-sized enterprise market is £350,000 with deals repaying within an average time of seven months.

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