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BGF breaks records, investing close to £60m in Scotland in 2021

BGF News 01.27.2022
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BGF has reported continued strong momentum over the last 12 months, investing close to £60 million within the Scottish growth economy – more than double the previous year’s figures.

BGF is a long-term patient investor, making initial investments between £1 million to £15 million for a minority equity stake. Deals completed in 2021 by BGF’s Scotland team have taken place across a diverse range of sectors, from technology to healthcare to consumer goods, while also supporting a range of company growth stages – from early-stage through to IPO.

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 £600 million over the course of 2021 – a record year for the fund which underlines its critical contribution to the UK’s growth economy.

Towards the year end, BGF completed an £8 million investment in Edinburgh-headquartered luxury leather goods brand Strathberry to help scale the business in global markets; while Glasgow IT group, Kick ICT received an £8.7 million investment to support the firm’s ambitious growth plans, including acquisitions as the business expands across the UK.

In the Northeast of Scotland, BGF provided Aberdeen-based oil and gas services firm isol8 with £3.5 million of growth capital to support its long-term growth plans, including increasing its staff by 50 percent over the next 12 months.

Additional BGF investments in 2021 included: £5.2 million in Odro, a Glasgow business that provides video interviewing and engagement software to the recruitment industry; £5 million in Fife-headquartered natural pet food producer Bella & Duke; part of a $4 million investment round in Edinburgh-based Desana, a flexible hybrid workspace platform for global employers.

In addition to BGF’s ongoing support for the country’s growth economy, BGF also completed its second cornerstone investment in an IPO in 12 months, after investing £7 million in The Artisanal Spirits Company (ASC), a specialist retailer of premium single cask, single malt Scotch whisky and other spirits, as part of its admissions to trading on AIM in June.

The funds raised through the IPO, which achieved a valuation of around £78 million, along with the company’s existing cash resources, has enabled the Edinburgh headquartered company to develop its membership base, enhance its digital channels, grow internationally and bring new brands to market. This investment follows BGF’s £6.3 million cornerstone backing of Livingston based Calnex Solutions Plc in September 2020.

This year has broken records for investment in the Scottish market, with nearly £60 million of growth capital deployed to a range of businesses from early stage through to scaleups and also IPOs. The positive momentum of the team across Scotland demonstrates the strength of our investment model, and the ability of BGF to deploy capital at scale to the brilliant businesses strengthening our economy. This has proved all the more important when faced with the ongoing challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Patrick Graham, BGF’s head of Scotland

“We were set up to back ambitious teams operating across a wide range of sectors and a variety of growth plans. The businesses we’ve invested in have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to growth and as their partner, we share in their confidence to support these goals.”

BGF’s existing portfolio companies in Scotland have also continued to perform well in 2021. Following a £2.7 million investment from BGF in 2020, Stirling based paint and accessory retailer The Paint Shed opened its eighteenth store in Aberdeen in May.

Walker Precision, the Glasgow based specialist engineering firm achieved Nadcap Gold status – a global program designed to set standards for aerospace engineering, defence and other related industries. Meanwhile, CSN Care Group, a leading social care provider acquired three businesses, further developing their private care offering

On the back of a record year for investments and growth in its portfolio, BGF expects to see increased demand for business funding in 2022 and beyond.

Patrick Graham added: “As the UK’s most active growth capital investor, we are unique in our approach as a provider of minority investment. This enables businesses to seek the funding they need to scale while also remaining in control of their business. We are continually focused on supporting the brightest and most innovative entrepreneurs that Scotland has to offer, and so for those businesses that are assessing their options in 2022, we are more than happy to have conversations to assess their options for expansion in the next 12 months.”