Matthew Neville

Welsh TV and film studio to expand facilities via £9m funding from London lender

Secured lending newcomer Bergen Finance has backed Shadow Holdings, the company behind Dragon TV and Film Studios near Cardiff, which is investing in further expanding its facilities, supported by £9m of secured debt funding in one of Bergen’s first secured lending transactions.

London headquartered Bergen Finance is backed by European investor and alternative asset manager Arrow Global. Bergen has set out its stall to lend between £500k and £50m to companies across all sectors.

Dragon Studios has experienced “rapid growth” and identified “significant new opportunities” as it celebrates millions of pounds of new contracts underway with TV and film production companies in the US.

Forming part of a previous open cast coal mine, the brownfield site was constructed by Dragon International Studios in 2007 and originally comprised four high specification silent sound stages.

The business was acquired by Dragon (TV and Film) Studios Wales, headed by director Gethyn Mills, in 2018 and a fifth “cutting edge”, 30,000 sq ft sound stage and production base was added, along with offices, dressing rooms and workshop space.

Immediately outside the stages, there is a four acre gravelled backlot suitable for building exterior sets as well as other building space available on the almost 100 acre site.

Supported by Bergen Finance, the company has refinanced some historic debt and the business lender has also provided additional capital to fund Dragon Studios’ continued expansion.

Dragon Studios has hosted several high profile projects from Upstairs Downstairs (BBC) to Hollywood studio productions such as Will (TNT), The Bastard Executioner (Fox), Brave New World (NBC Universal) and Ironclad (Mythic International Entertainment).

Adrian Hogan, director at Bergen Finance, commented: “We could see straight away that Dragon Studios was a solid business – it has strong collateral, an impressive track record of investing in improving its assets, a well-connected and knowledgeable management team and great prospects.”

Tom Guy, director of operations at Dragon Studios, added: “It was refreshing to find a lender who is genuinely flexible and looks at the bigger picture - unlike traditional lenders who were concerned we didn’t ‘fit into a box’, Bergen were keen to learn about our strategic vision and CAPEX plans; they recognised the strength of our collateral and were willing to support us.”

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