• SMEs most likely to invest in IT equipment, cars, vans and plant & machinery over the next 12 months
  • 53% expect demand for alternative finance – including asset finance – to increase over the next two years

A new survey1 commissioned by Norton Folgate, the City-based asset finance and leasing specialist, reveals that four in ten (39%) SMEs plan to invest in new IT equipment over the next 12 months, spending an average of £5,290 each.

Cars are the second most popular working asset among SMEs, with nearly a fifth (18%) of business owners planning to acquire at least one over the next year, spending on average £14,496.

Plant & machinery (12%) and commercial vehicles (11%) are in third and fourth places with SMEs spending an average of £7,426 and £11,163 on these respectively.

According to the findings, 10% of SMEs intend to use asset finance and alternative finance to acquire their working assets, underlining the growing popularity of this sector.  Indeed, more than half (53%) expect demand for alternative finance – including asset finance – to increase over the next two years.

Norton Folgate, which provides asset financing for the acquisition and refinancing of all working assets including IT and soft assets, cars and other vehicles, is seeing a significant increase in the number of enquiries among SMEs.

Robert Keep, Founder and Principal of Norton Folgate, said: “Most SMEs understand the critical importance of up to date IT systems and this is reflected in their willingness to invest in new equipment over the next 12 months.

“We’re finding that many small business owners increasingly see the value of using asset finance to acquire these rather than tying up working capital or turning to bank overdrafts and expensive credit cards.  By offering a flexible and responsive service and highly competitive rates we have seen our lending book grow significantly.  Being part of Amicus has put us in a very strong position to further enhance our asset leasing and finance capabilities.”

John Jenkins, CEO of Amicus commented: “It’s encouraging to see such significant numbers of SMEs are committed to investing in their working assets and the growing importance of asset finance.  Norton Folgate has built a very strong reputation in this field and is playing an integral role in our strategy of offering a diversified range of specialist lending services.”

Within the next 12 months, do you plan to invest in any of the following?Percentage of respondents (%)Average amount intended to spend (£)
IT equipment39%£5,290
Telecoms equipment13%£5,368
Plant and machinery12%£7,426
Commercial vehicles11%£11,163
None of the above39%

Source: Norton Folgate (May 2016)

Amicus Finance acquired Norton Folgate in February 2015 for an undisclosed fee and has since committed significant working capital and resources. The company led by Robert Keep is a leading and sustainable provider in SME asset finance and leasing, HNWI financing and SME business loans.