Manchester

BGF reports 200th investment and another strong year of growth in 2017

BGF has announced its investment figures and key milestones for 2017, detailing another year of growth for the company.

The UK’s most active investor

  • BGF completed 48 new investments and provided £310m in funding to UK smaller and mid-sized companies in 2017. BGF was the UK’s most active institutional investor in 2017.
  • The year ended on another high. £79m was invested in December, an all-time record month for BGF, and two further transactions have already completed in the first two weeks of 2018.

More than 200 investee companies

  • In October BGF made its 200th new company investment, and exceeded £1.3bn of invested long-term capital. Today, portfolio companies represent every nation, region and city, and every sector of the UK economy.
  • New investments in 2017 added companies representing sectors such as advanced manufacturing, professional services, education, agriculture, hospitality and leisure, and space technology to the BGF portfolio.

Growing team and footprint

  • Nearly three quarters of all BGF funding has been invested in companies outside London and the South East.
  • New offices have been opened and new investors recruited, in Dublin (November) and Nottingham (this month) taking BGF to 11 sites, with further offices planned for 2018. New premises with more space have opened in Manchester, Leeds and Aberdeen to accommodate a growing investment and support team.

One team, one brand

  • A new brand identity was developed and launched, positioning BGF for further growth. The brand reflects BGF’s holistic and comprehensive approach to supporting and investing in companies at all different stages of their growth, across the UK.
  • 11 deals were completed with earlier stage companies in 2017 with nearly £35m of new money invested. A total of £45m was invested in listed companies, including new structured investments into Accsys Group and Netcall.
  • BGF is now firmly established as one of the most active early stage investors in the UK, in the coming year will look to extend its reach beyond digital technology and reach more exciting, ambitious and disruptive earlier-stage companies across the whole of the UK.

Returns generated from successful exits, highlight power of BGF’s evergreen balance sheet

  • 2017 saw more successful exits, with all proceeds returned to BGF’s balance sheet ready to be invested in more growing companies.
  • Notable exits in 2017 included: Statesman Travel, BGF’s second ever investment, made in October 2011; Bullitt Group, which sold a majority stake to private equity firm Exponent; Acro, a specialist manufacturer of aircraft seating acquired by ZTC a Shanghai-listed manufacturer of seats for construction vehicles and cars; and Zone, a digital marketing company acquired by Cognizant, a Nasdaq-listed marketing services company.
  • This evergreen balance sheet is also used to support existing investee companies requiring further capital - more than £100m was provided in additional funding to existing BGF-backed businesses to support further growth, at home and abroad, across all sectors. This included additional investment for ROVOP, an Aberdeen based operator of underwater remotely operated vehicles, to increase its fleet to meet international customer demand. Cennox, provider of ATM services to the global banking industry, also secured further investment to help fund two acquisitions which broaden its services and footprint in a number of international markets.

CEO of BGF, Stephen Welton said: “With a portfolio of 200 investments, representing companies from nearly all sectors, regions and stages of growth, BGF has a unique perspective on UK SMEs, the backbone of the country’s economy.

“The macro-economic and political landscape remains uncertain and the current environment is not easy for any business to navigate. But, more and more business owners are recognising that with strong financial backing and genuine support there are as many opportunities as challenges, and that growth is out there.

“It is particularly heartening to see the success that many of our investee companies are having in growing international markets; an illustration of the opportunities that exist for well-funded, ambitious UK companies across the world.

“These results demonstrate that entrepreneurialism across the UK is alive and well, and that BGF continues to have the appetite and capacity to back confident ambitious management teams. From our network of offices we are providing both the patient capital and support that these companies need. We met with more management teams than ever in 2017, and we look forward to backing more companies in 2018.”

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