Aldermore's invoice finance division almost doubled profits during its first full financial year as part of the new British bank.
The specialist cash flow funder formerly known as Absolute Invoice Finance was part of Cattles plc before being acquired in November 2009 by Aldermore Bank plc. The 200-strong team now forms the invoice finance division of Aldermore, working closely with the bank's other SME divisions, which specialise in providing asset finance facilities and commercial mortgages.
In the year to 31st December 2010, the invoice finance arm of Aldermore almost doubled its profit to £4.7m from £2.4m in 2009. This profit level was recorded against a turnover of £23.82m, up from £20.9m in 2009. The invoice finance division also saw an increase in new business volumes of 40 per cent, taking its total loan book to £110m and breaking the £100m barrier for the first time in its 17-year history.
To mark the milestone, Aldermore has launched a £50m fund aimed at supporting larger SMEs that continue to see their growth ambitions stifled as a result of the ongoing credit crunch.
The Aldermore Growth Fund aims to encourage expansion among the UK's larger SMEs, and is open to businesses with an annual turnover of between £2.5m and £25m. The fund will provide medium-sized businesses, which struggle to raise funds through corporate bonds or rights issues, with an alternative option to traditional bank funding.
Ian Wilkins, group managing director of commercial finance at Aldermore, said: "As part of Aldermore, and thanks to the continued hard work and dedication of our people, our invoice finance division has achieved a record level of growth and continues to thrive despite challenging economic conditions. This has reinforced to us the importance of supporting the growth ambitions of other medium-sized businesses across the UK.
"While the term 'credit crunch' has been used less and less over recent months, as the economy has begun to move out of recession, the reality is that lending to SMEs is continuing to fall. Alongside the dramatic decline in funding through government-backed schemes, such as the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme, many of the major high street banks have remained reluctant to lend to viable businesses despite significant improvements to their own balance sheet strength. And for many larger SMEs, that means being starved of vital funding for growth.
"By ringfencing £50m of our capital in the form of the Aldermore Growth Fund, we're making it clear to businesses that there are funding options available that could enable them to fulfill their growth ambitions."
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