In spite of the widespread positivity around UK manufacturing, Bank of England data shows that net business lending to small businesses like manufacturing SMEs dropped by nearly £2bn at the end of 2013.
The figures serve to highlight a widening disparity between interest rates offered to big corporations and small businesses. While borrowing costs for loans above £20m have fallen by 0.59 percentage points over the past year, the average rate on loans of up to £1m has risen by 0.04 percentage points.
Meanwhile, Michael Saunders, chief UK economist at Citigroup, has said that “SME credit remains something of a worry”, while John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), has called on the government to do more to “turbo-charge” the business lending market.
But one firm specialising in investing in manufacturing SMEs believes that if the government and banks are not willing to support small businesses, then small businesses must look to alternative sources for funding and management support.
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Andrew Ramsbottom, Managing Partner at Advent LLP, said: “Despite all the talk about how manufacturing is going to help bolster the economy moving forward, banks – and indeed the government – are not doing enough to support the small businesses actually form the backbone of the manufacturing sector.
“That is why manufacturing and production-based SMEs should approach specialist investors for funding. Our rates are attractive, but we offer far more than just funding.
“Any investment we make is by no means just about the money: Advent works on the principle that the investor is as important as the investment itself. That means we look to add value through our vast experience in getting out the best in businesses to help them fulfill their potential and supporting the management team in our shared goals.”
Advent specialises in providing private funding of up to £0.5 million per transaction to unlock potential and maximise future development and always holds an equity position within the business providing management support, driving change and delivering success.
Advent would like to repeat the recent success it has had with Chesterfield-based manufacturer TMAT, which it has helped transform from a struggling business into one that is now turning over around £12m per year.