Business growth fund celebrates 650th investment

A regional business growth fund has achieved the significant milestone of making its 650th investment in North East companies.

Pacifica Group is the latest company to receive investment from the £142.5m Finance for Business North East (FBNE) programme, a ground-breaking suite of seven funds managed by North East Finance.

Chester-le-Street-based Pacifica secured £500,000 from FW Capital, managers of the North East Growth Plus Fund, as part of a £2m funding round to set up a new site in Washington. The funding round also included a £1.16m commercial mortgage and loan from HSBC as well as a £250,000 Let’s Grow grant. FW Capital’s loan assisted Pacifica in its move to the new site. 

This site will help spearhead Pacifica’s growth in the region where it expects to create 45 jobs.

Founded in 2003, the group is made up of six companies and provides a comprehensive repair and replacement service for domestic appliances. It also installs, services and repairs domestic central heating systems and gas appliances through its nationally recognised 0800 Repair brand. 

Kevin Brown, director of Pacifica, said: “This investment marks a major milestone for us as we embark on the next phase of the company’s expansion. It has put us in a great position to achieve our aim of becoming Europe’s premier support services provider to the domestic appliance industry.”

Since its launch in 2010, the FFBNE programme has provided more than £105m of debt and equity funding to North East SMEs, creating or safeguarding almost 4,000 jobs. It has also secured more than £120m of private sector cash to support deals from venture capital firms, business angels and other investors.

The money has been invested in firms across the region, from the Tweed to the Tees. Beneficiaries include engineering, bio-technology, manufacturing, renewable energy and software development companies. 

Jason Hobbs, finance director at North East Finance, said: “This significant milestone puts us well on the way to achieving our goal of supporting more than 900 businesses by the end of next year.

“FFBNE was launched to provide alternative investment at a time when companies were finding mainstream affordable finance hard to come by. Now, as the economic recovery continues to gather momentum, more companies are seeking debt and equity-based investments to fast-track their expansion plans.

“Pacifica is just one of many beneficiaries of FBNE and there is still money available from the programme for other businesses that require additional investment.” 

Joanne Pratt, FW Capital’s fund manager in the North East, said: “Pacifica has become a major player in the European domestic appliance industry and now provides customers with a comprehensive range of services. They’ve have built an excellent reputation and taken on additional staff as they’ve expanded.

“The move to Washington is an important step for Pacifica and I’m pleased FW Capital has been able to join forces with HSBC to come up with a funding package to back its continued expansion. This investment is an excellent example of how we can work alongside other funders to structure investment packages for ambitious North East companies.”

HSBC’s Tyne Tees Commercial Centre supported the project via a £1.16m funding package in a deal managed on behalf of the bank by senior commercial manager Ian Cameron. The funding was allocated from HSBC’s £100m SME fund specifically for companies from the North East.

Pat Dellow, HSBC Tyne Tees area commercial director, said: “We are pleased to have supported Pacifica Group in this investment, which has created a number of new jobs in the North East. The company has ambitious growth plans across Europe and HSBC is well positioned to support the business as it expands.”

The North East Growth Plus Fund provides debt, mezzanine and equity investments, typically between £350,000 and £1.25 million, to revenue-generating North East businesses.

North East Growth Plus Fund