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British Business Bank announces £99.8m commitment to Shire Leasing

Source: British Business Bank

The British Business Bank today announces a further £62.4m of financing to Shire Leasing under its ENABLE Funding programme, which aims to improve the supply of finance solutions to smaller UK businesses for business–critical assets.

The transaction follows on from a first round of funding of £37.4m in 2017 - bringing the overall amount of money under the ENABLE Funding programme awarded to £99.8m.

Alongside £6.6m of mezzanine funding provided in 2017 by British Business Investments, a commercial subsidiary of the Bank, it brings the total support provided to Shire to £106.4m.

The financing will aid Shire Leasing in delivering in excess of £150m to help smaller businesses with cash flow, recovery, growth, and investment plans.

Launched in 2014, the ENABLE Funding programme supports the Bank’s objective to diversify finance markets for smaller UK businesses. Providers of finance to SMEs often lack the scale required to access capital markets - a key source of funding for lending institutions - in a cost-efficient manner. The ENABLE Funding programme warehouses newly-originated finance receivables from different originators, bringing them together into a new structure. Once the structure has sufficient scale, it will refinance a portion of its funding on the capital markets, helping small finance providers to tap into institutional investors’ funds.

Helen Lumb, Chief Financial Officer of Shire Leasing, said: “Our partnership with British Business Bank allows us to grow and diversify our funding base. Our journey to achieve this increased facility shows, even during times of calamity, that Shire are continuously working with our strategic partners to make alternative lines of finance more readily available for businesses.

“This latest credit line under the ENABLE Funding programme comes at a vital time for our economy, enhancing our ability to support UK SMEs across all business sectors in accessing the finance required to recover, thrive, and grow affordably.”

By utilising the ENABLE Funding, Shire has been able to expand into new markets and deliver finance solutions through non-conventional methods. In 2020, Shire Leasing was appointed as a funder on the UK’s first Clean Air Zone (CAZ) Financial Assistance Scheme, providing businesses impacted by the Bath and North East Somerset Council CAZ with direct financial support in the form of grants and/or interest-free financing to accelerate investment in low/no emission vehicles. Since funding the first vehicle on the scheme in January 2021, Shire continues to place CAZ agreements on its own book, with the majority of these secured by the ENABLE Funding programme.

Reinald de Monchy, Managing Director, Guarantee and Wholesale Solutions of the British Business Bank, said: “Smaller businesses in the UK are affected by a funding gap as many traditional providers provide cost efficient financing to only a relatively small percentage of firms. By partnering with alternative and non-bank lenders, like Shire Leasing, we can give smaller UK businesses access to the asset and lease finance they need. The Bank remains committed to its objective to create a more diverse finance market, and we look forward to continuing to work with Shire Leasing and other non-banks to help provide even more funding options to smaller businesses across the UK.”

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