Tomlinson's Dairy receives £22m investment

Financing the future of Wales

Finance Wales invested £136m into Welsh businesses and private sector co-investors in the 2016/17 financial year.

The £136m pumped into Welsh businesses last year by Finance Wales helped create or safeguard more than 3,700 jobs in 245 companies.

Finance Wales has also repaid the loan from the European Investment Bank which formed part of the now fully invested JEREMIE fund.

JEREMIE’s replacement, the Wales Business Fund, supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), was launched in September.

It is the largest UK fund with EU money to be launched following the Brexit vote in June 2016.

Companies to benefit from Wales Business Fund support include Tomlinson’s Dairies in Wrexham, Peerless Gas in Flintshire and Siltbusters in Monmouthshire.

“We fill a gap left by mainstream lenders, offering flexible finance solutions to companies who may struggle to get the package they need from the traditional sources of finance,” explained Chairman Gareth Bullock.

“Where there is decreased risk appetite in the wider investment market, we’re able to step in and take that risk burden to help support ambitious Welsh businesses. I’m proud of that, I’m proud of our flexibility and the approach our staff take to tailor deals for micro to medium companies.”

Welcoming the news economy secretary Ken Skates said: “These are excellent results from Finance Wales which has played a key role in supporting the growth of Welsh businesses, helping to spread prosperity by creating and safeguarding jobs and leveraging in private sector investment.

“As Finance Wales prepares to evolve into the Development Bank for Wales, it will mark the start of a new era, presenting even greater opportunities to support more micro and medium sized enterprises throughout Wales.

“The Development Bank of Wales will be tasked with providing more than £1bn of investment support to Welsh businesses over the next five years and will ensure these businesses have greatly improved access to finance, support services and management advice.

“I am delighted to say we are close to selecting the new headquarters for the Bank in Wrexham that will have a strong presence throughout Wales providing easier access for businesses in all our regions.”

Finance Wales chief executive, Giles Thorley added: “Year after year, Finance Wales has seen increasing demand for sustainable, effective finance for businesses in Wales. The Development Bank of Wales will build on this with greater scale and breadth unlocking more potential and enhancing a dynamic, competitive Welsh economy.”

One of the most recent companies to benefit from Finance Wales funding is Wrexham-based Tomlinson’s Dairies, which is creating 70 new jobs and expanding its cold storage facilities after securing a £22m co-investment from Finance Wales, Welsh Government and HSBC.

The funding includes a £14.5m facility from HSBC, £5m from Welsh Government and £2m from Finance Wales, with the balance from company cash reserves.

Managing director Philip Tomlinson said: “We’re proud to be able to expand our operations in North Wales and create 70 new jobs for the local area following this investment. This is a great place to do business and we’re excited for the future.”

Another business is Flintshire-based engineering firm Peerless Gas Controls Ltd, which acquired Lomax Offshore Couplings Ltd after securing a six-figure funding package by Finance Wales and other funders.

“We’ve had a lot of success selling Welsh-made parts to the white goods market,” explained Peerless Gas managing director Steve Crutchley. “With the purchase of Lomax we’ll be able to offer a wider range of parts to our existing client-base as well as offering parts to new markets through Lomax’s existing relationships.

“The increase in business we can generate will not only secure jobs in Burnley, where Lomax have always been located, but increase the amount of machining work at our Flintshire base - creating and safeguarding jobs at Peerless Gas.”

The Wales Management Succession Fund also launched in the 2016/17 financial year. In early 2017 the fund made its first two investments – in Cardiff-based bio medical company Minerva and communications specialist Glamorgan Telecom.

It has also been a very active year for the Technology Venture Investments team. In December, medical device company Creo listed on AIM at the London Stock Exchange. In August 2016, the team also exceeded the £3m investment milestone for the £7.5m Wales Technology Seed Fund, investing more than £2.3m in the 2016/17 financial year alone and leveraging £1.24m from private sector funders.

The Help to Buy Wales scheme, managed by Finance Wales on behalf of Welsh Government, also supported the purchase of more than 1,800 homes across Wales. The shared equity scheme helps Welsh families get on, and up the property ladder by providing equity loans for deposits on new homes. The scheme also supports developers here in Wales.