Praetura Group, the North-West based debt and equity capital provider to UK SMEs, provided more than £75 million of funding to SMEs in the first quarter of 2021, with demand continuing to rise.

The lending division of the Praetura Group, which comprises Praetura Commercial Finance and the Praetura Asset Finance Group has seen its highest ever Q1 lending levels.

The Praetura Asset Finance Group, an independent asset finance funder, lent more than £18.5 million through asset finance and term-loan facilities, provided by group companies Praetura Asset Finance and Kingsway Asset Finance.

Praetura Asset Finance saw a 17 per cent increase in the number of deals completed and an 8 per cent rise in the amount lent (compared to previous Q1 record totals). Year on year comparisons show a 32 per cent growth in funding facilitated.

At Kingsway Asset Finance, the funding provided centered around delivery of their CBILS facilities. Funding provided by Kingsway in the first quarter of 2021 has already exceeded 60 per cent of the total lending figure for 2020.

Praetura Commercial Finance, which provides asset-based lending (ABL) solutions to SMEs, has enjoyed its best quarter to date, having completed transactions totalling £50.5 million in Q1 2021. All of these deals were management buyouts (MBOs) and 60 per cent were private equity sponsored.

Praetura Ventures, the equity arm of the Praetura Group which backs ambitious northern businesses in high-growth sectors, invested more than £7 million between January and March.

Praetura said demand for its debt and equity funding remains high among SMEs, boosted by the North’s start-up culture, an improving economy and desire to benefit from the group’s ‘more than money’ approach, which combines advice and expertise with funding for businesses.

Peadar O’Reilly, managing director of Praetura Group’s lending division, says: “The range of businesses our funding is assisting across the whole of the Praetura Group continues to expand. But we are an ambitious company and naturally we want to do more: we want the funding we provide to be able to help even more SMEs.

“Now more than ever SMEs need the support of funders who will be client-focused and adaptable to specific individual circumstances. Activity in the market is rapidly gathering momentum, with entrepreneurs and owner-managed businesses re-assessing their business’ growth plans post-pandemic, and with potential tax changes on the horizon.

“We have built talented teams throughout the Praetura Group that provide the support, experience and dedication founders and business owners need from a funding partner. As our strapline says, we’re here to provide ‘more than money’ and that ethos will never change”.