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Richard Bell

BGF invests almost £50m into North West businesses in 12 months

The North West arm of the Business Growth Fund (BGF) is celebrating a record 12 months of investment.

The organisation, which makes long-term investments in SMEs in return for a minority stake, has ploughed almost £50m into the region’s businesses since November 2015.

The figure highlights BGF’s accelerated activity in the North West in 2016, as it accounts for more than half of the £97.1m total invested in the region since March 2012.

Some of the biggest BGF deals include a £3.3m investment into High Access Maintenance, allowing the firm to drive its UK-wide growth strategy and expand its Birmingham and London teams.

The organisation also sank £10m into multichannel furniture retailer Sofology, shortly before helping Leigh-based bathroom retailer Better Bathrooms create 100 jobs with £4m in follow-on funding.

Nationally, BGF today (November 15) announced that it has passed £1bn in committed investments to businesses, with over £700m of that outside London and the South East.

By the close of 2016, the firm is forecast to have awarded more than £370m this year compared with £250m in 2015.

B2B data company Beauhurst named BGF the top institutional investor in terms of deals completed during the three months that followed the EU Referendum, despite a wider slowdown in investment activity.

Andy Gregory, BGF’s regional director for the North, said: “BGF has established itself as the leading provider of long-term capital in the UK and we continue to be encouraged by the growing demand for BGF funding among quality businesses in the North West.

“This has been a record 12 months, with activity covering new investments and further funding into existing investee businesses.”

He continued: “While growing businesses will be affected in different ways and to varying degrees during the Brexit negotiations and beyond, our long-term approach means that we have no intention of slowing down our new activity or support for the companies we back.”

Collectively the 155 BGF-backed companies, which are privately owned or AIM listed and typically turn over between £5m and £100m, employ 25k people nationwide

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