BGF – the UK & Ireland’s most active growth capital investor – has invested £41 million in Yorkshire and the North East in 2021, backing some of the most entrepreneurial businesses in the region. The investor has a strong pipeline and is pledging to increase investment in the region again in 2022.
BGF is a long-term patient investor, making initial investments between £1 million to £15 million for a minority equity stake. It backs ambitious teams across a range of sectors and funds a variety of growth plans.
Over the last 12 months, investments by the Leeds-based team have included: £14 million of funding to Bloom Procurement – the UK’s only public sector procurement marketplace; £5.9 million in Northern Building Plastics to support nationwide expansion; and £3.05 million in SaaS tech platform, Hicomply.
Over the past 12 months, BGF successfully exited four businesses in Yorkshire and the North East to trade buyers. These included the sale of Yorkshire-headquartered bakery business Cooplands, where BGF backed the 135-year-old family business with a £8.5 million investment in December 2017, supplemented with £7.7 million follow-on funding in November 2020. This deal followed the successful exit of high-growth waste management and recycling company, J&B Recycling, which was acquired by a Spanish buyer and the sale of pharmaceutical services business Arcinova, acquired by Quotient Life Sciences. Latterly in 2021, BGF also exited Coppergreen Leisure Resorts, a group of four high quality lodge parks, to Away Resorts. Across these four investments, BGF has generated a very strong aggregate return of a 3x money multiple on its total invested capital.
Barry Jackson, Head of BGF in Yorkshire and the North East in May, said: “The region continues to face a whole host of challenges, whether that’s supply chain disruptions, labour shortages, inflationary pressures, a global pandemic, or Brexit. Despite the sustained pressure, entrepreneur-led businesses in high-growth sectors are driving forward with ambitious development strategies, which makes them extremely appealing from an investment perspective.”
BGF has also provided follow-on funding to existing portfolio businesses, including digital transport management and eProcurement software provider, 365 Response. The Wakefield-based company utilised BGF’s investment alongside other funding to acquire transport technology solutions business, Flexiroute, as part of a long-term strategy to support the delivery of zero-carbon solutions for councils. In addition, Bayfields Opticians and Audiologists have continued on the acquisition trail, expanding their presence across the UK.
Barry added: “As we enter 2022, all the signs are there for another active year of supporting high quality businesses that have the appetite to scale. We’ve had a record year for exits in the region which reaffirms our model and point of difference in the market. With an abundance of talented business owners looking to capitalise on the opportunities both domestically and overseas, together with the confidence to face the ongoing challenges head on, we’re looking forward to embarking on that investment journey with both new and existing portfolio companies.”
Further investment is planned when BGF expands into its new North East office in Newcastle in the first half of 2022, continue to signify its commitment across the whole of the Yorkshire & North East region.
Strong regional momentum comes off the back of a significant year for BGF as a whole, which has seen the growth capital investor complete 67 new deals and invest £600m over the course of 2021 – a record year for the fund which underlines its critical contribution to the UK’s growth economy.