Investment Fund for Wales announces first debt finance deal

Press release 19 February 2024


£130m Investment Fund for Wales announces first debt finance deal with Palmers, the UK’s oldest scaffolding firm.

The British Business Bank announces the first debt finance deal from the £130m Investment Fund for Wales, with a £500,000 investment from the Debt Finance fund, managed by appointed fund managers FW Capital.

The investment in to leading contract scaffolders Palmers Scaffolding based in Deeside is the first debt finance deal announced on behalf of the Investment Fund for Wales and comes less than a month after the Bank confirmed the completion of the Fund’s first equity deal and just three months after its launch on November 23rd 2023.

The Investment Fund for Wales was launched by the government-backed British Business Bank to boost the supply of early-stage finance to small and medium-sized businesses across Wales.

Deeside-based Palmers Scaffolding is the UK’s oldest scaffolding contractor, having been formed in 1888 by Edwin Palmer and incorporated in 1912. Palmers employs a skilled and experienced workforce in excess of 226 and consistently ranks in the top 10 of UK scaffolding contractors. Turnover has grown steadily in recent years, from £12m in 2020 to £23m in 2023, with a forecast of £31m for 2024.

Palmers is engaged in the South West at the £32bn Hinckley Point C Nuclear Power Station project on behalf of a variety of clients and in the North East supplies a selection of blue chip industrial clients from its Wilton Works base in Teesside. It also has key contracts at Gatwick and Heathrow airports and construction contracts across central London for the Major Contractors Group.

Palmers has regional offices in the North West, North East, South East and South West of England, with its Head Office in Flintshire.

Michael Carr, CEO of Palmers, said:

FW Capital’s was a rigorous approval process before accepting our application. We were very impressed with their approach.

Large infrastructure projects like those at Hinkley Point are our lifeblood, but we needed a large amount of working capital for us to bring together everything we needed once we were brought on by the BYLOR Joint Venture to take part in the construction.

We’re really pleased that we got the support needed from the Investment Fund for Wales and FW Capital, meaning we could hit the ground running with the project and bring our expertise to bear on what is one of the biggest projects of its type ongoing in the UK right now.

The loan will be used for cashflow funding and capital expenditure requirements. We are currently expanding our footprint in the Northwest and are budgeting for a £31M turnover in 2024.

Mark Sterritt, Director, Nations and Regions Investment Funds at the British Business Bank, said:

The Bank’s Investment Fund for Wales was established to support smaller businesses with their growth ambitions. The fund backs progressive and evolving companies like Palmers, which is well-established and will now use that reputation for growth.

The Investment Fund for Wales is very much open for discussions with growth businesses across Wales and is committed to investing in a variety of expansion strategies.

Rhodri Evans, Fund Manager for the Investment Fund for Wales at FW Capital, said:

We’re glad that we were able to work with Palmers Scaffolding, and could quickly back them with the investment they needed via the Investment Fund for Wales.

They’re a strong Welsh brand with UK-wide recognition of years of service and experience in the construction sector, and the knowledge shown by Michael and his team made us confident this investment is in safe hands.

For more information, visit Investment Fund for Wales.

Further Information

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Notes to editors

About the Investment Fund for Wales

Operated by the British Business Bank, the Investment Fund for Wales (IFW) provides a mix of debt and equity funding. IFW will offer a range of commercial finance options with smaller loans from £25k to £100k, debt finance from £100k to £2m and equity investment up to £5 million. It works alongside the various support and funding organisations from Welsh Government as well as local intermediaries such as accountants, fund managers and banks, to support Wales’ smaller businesses at all stages of their development.

The funds in which the IFW invests are open to businesses with material operations, or planning to open material operations, in all areas of Wales, including but not limited to North Eastern Wales, North Western Wales, Mid Wales, South West Wales and South East Wales.

Supported by Nations and Regions Investments Limited, a subsidiary of British Business Bank plc, the Bank is a development bank wholly owned by HM Government. Neither Nations and Regions Investments Limited nor British Business Bank plc are authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

About FW Capital

FW Capital is a fund management company currently managing UK-based funds over £315.8m.

FW Capital manages the £30m IFW – FW Capital Debt Finance fund, party of the £130m Investment Fund for Wales, on behalf of the British Business Bank. Finance of £100,000 to £2 million is available to businesses across Wales.

FW Capital is part of the Development Bank of Wales Group one of the UK’s largest SME investors. The DBW Group manages funds of in excess of £1.9 billion.