STATE-OWNED British Business Bank has lent over £6.6bn to more than 89,000 businesses in the UK over the past year.
This represents a 27 per cent increase on the £5.2bn which was lent in 2017, the bank confirmed.
More than 90 per cent of the finance the bank provided was through smaller, newer, or alternative finance providers. In the 12 months ending on 31 March 2019, the bank also added 13 new delivery partners across its programmes, bringing the total to over 130.
“The last five years have seen the British Business Bank build a strong track record of developing carefully targeted programmes to improve small business finance markets,” Keith Morgan, chief executive, said.
“We are well placed to support smaller businesses across the UK at every stage of development now and in the future.”
The British Business Bank returned a profit before tax of £81.3m over the course of the year and made a 3.6 per cent adjusted return on capital employed. Since its creation the bank has generated returns of £195m, beating its five-year target.
The bank’s dedicated regional funds – which aim to reduce regional imbalances in access to finance – now support over £240m of finance, it said. The bank also introduced its new £100m Regional Angels programme in October 2018 to reduce regional imbalances in small businesses’ access to finance, as well as a cross-UK network of support.
“Smaller businesses are of huge importance to the UK economy and this report shows the British Business Bank is playing a crucial part in their growth and success,” Lord Smith of Kelvin, chair of the bank, commented.
The bank also worked across government to support priority sectors such as national security and housing, it said, providing guarantees for up to £1bn to support lending to smaller housebuilders.
The bank’s commercial subsidiary British Patient Capital, launched in June 2018, made £333m of commitments across 12 funds. It aims to support innovative UK businesses in accessing long-term financing for scaling.
A New Managed Funds programme was also launched in May 2018. The programme is designed to increase access to longer-term venture and growth capital for ambitious and innovative, high potential companies in the UK.
In June 2018 a new £40m Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund was launched. The Bank also made its first commitment in December 2018 of £10.5m to a fund focused on supporting small businesses in Northern Ireland.