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26/09/2011

FW Capital lends first £2 million to 13 businesses in the North West

FW Capital, the company which manages the North West Fund for Business Loans, has invested over £2 million through 13 deals since the Fund launched in December 2010.

There has been no shortage of applications to the £35 million Fund from established businesses operating in a range of sectors throughout the North West. Interest has so far been strongest amongst businesses in Greater Manchester and there are more in the pipeline.

“We’re delighted by how quickly the Fund has taken off and also by the quality of applications we’re seeing,” explains FW Capital’s Fund Manager, Gary Guest. “Many of the businesses coming forward are well established and have traded through tough times before. They’re taking a long-term view and using their ingenuity to grow their business.”

FW Capital’s £150,000 loan to household, health and beauty products manufacturer, Expac (Preston) Ltd took the Fund’s investment total over the £2 million mark. It will enable the Leyland-based family business to exploit new opportunities within the sector.

The loan comes from the £185m North West Fund financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank.

Expac’s management team plans to relocate to larger premises, invest in its product range and drive operational efficiencies.

Mark Langtree, Expac’s director said: “Since my father founded the company over 30 years ago, Expac has grown by identifying opportunities in new markets and working with household names to manufacture well-known products. FW Capital’s loan will help us to continue this tradition.”

FW Capital’s Senior Investment Executive in Manchester, Gavin Cowling, who structured the loan said: “Expac is a well-established company with a strong competitive advantage. Its shrewd management team knows its market well and has re-engineered the company so it’s well-placed to exploit the £1.35 billion beauty and cleaning products market.”

Expac was introduced to FW Capital by Gary Edgerton of Wigan-based accountants, Fairhurst, who commented: “Expac’s relocation plans are a major step in the company’s development and clearly required a particular type of funding. I knew about the Fund’s lending criteria and didn’t hesitate in recommending it to Expac’s management team.”

FW Capital has established operations in Liverpool, Manchester and Preston. Commenting on its impact in the North West, Guest said: “We’ve built up strong relationships with businesses and their advisers and this is now paying off. The banks have been a particularly strong source of referrals for us.

“We want to work with more banks as we have different lending criteria. The banks and advisers who’ve already referred clients to us for investment are finding it’s a ‘win win’ situation.”

Andy Leach, chief executive of North West Business Finance, the not-for-profit company set up to deliver The North West Fund said: “I’m really pleased that The North West Fund has been able to help Expac, a well established family-business, achieve its growth plans. I’d like to think that, with £2m now invested from our Business Loans Fund clearly demonstrating our ability to satisfy a demand across the North West, there will be more growing SMEs keen to access funding from The North West Fund. North West businesses should feel privileged that such a large fund is available to help them grow.”

*The North West Fund for Business Loans has now been replaced by The North West Fund for Loans Plus.

North West Fund Loans Plus