Landmark deal for The North West Fund

Landmark deal for The North West Fund

The North West Fund for Energy and Environmental has announced the successful disposal of PlaceFirst Ltd, marking a £3m return for the fund.

Manchester-based PlaceFirst, which develops energy efficient socially affordable housing, has agreed a substantial funding commitment with ESO Capital, which will capitalise the company to deliver 1,000 family homes for rent.

The deal represents the largest cash exit of the fund to date and will allow PlaceFirst to accelerate the development of its extensive project pipeline including the development of Welsh Streets in Dingle, Liverpool.

PlaceFirst has used the investment from The North West Fund to develop both its Woodnook project in Accrington, Lancashire involving 64 socially affordable homes and its West End One project in Morecombe, Lancashire involving 51 homes. PlaceFirst has attracted £7.5m of additional investment and created 200 jobs across these projects.

Cliff Maylor, CEO of North West Business Finance, said: “This exit represents a major landmark for The North West Fund and comes as a result of the commitment, determination and expertise of our team and business partners. The exit value of £3m is testament to the work we have put in and our ability to add value to the companies we work with.”

The North West Fund for Energy and Environmental is now fully invested at £20.6m. Since 2009 it has been delivering on its mandate to create a successful cluster of energy and environmental SMEs in the sector. 

It has also enabled private sector leverage of more than £28.8m, with an aim of £40m by 2017. Altogether, it has supported 18 companies and delivered business advice support to 16 companies.