BGF reports record growth in 2016

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BGF has announced its investment figures for 2016, detailing a record year for the company. In total, BGF has now invested in 165 companies. These businesses have a combined revenue of £4bn and employ over 30,000 people, a number which would make them the equivalent of the UK’s eighth largest private business employer. 

Momentum grows throughout 2016, despite Brexit and industry slowdown

  • BGF provided £387m in funding to UK smaller and mid-sized companies in 2016, up from £257m the previous year, making the last 12 months its most successful to date. A total of 59 deals were completed in 2016, compared to 31 in 2015.
  • BGF was the UK’s top institutional investor in Q3 and Q4. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the EU Referendum vote and an overall slowdown in investment activity since June 2016, the second half of the year was BGF’s most active ever.
  • BGF ranked the 7th most active private investor in the world in 2016 based on number of deals completed.
  • The year ended on a high. £124m was invested in Q4, an all-time record quarter for BGF, and £53m in December, an all-time record month.

Investment in the North of England soars

  • Through its nine regional offices, BGF has invested more than £1billion into over 160 growing businesses in Britain since 2011. Nearly three quarters of this funding has been invested in companies outside London and the South East.
  • In the North of England alone, BGF invested £106m in 2016 compared to £45m in the previous year, while new investments were also completed in companies in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. BGF has invested £18m in Northern Ireland in just over 12 months.

BGF portfolio retains sector spread

  • BGF invests across all sectors of the UK economy and in 2016 added companies representing sectors such as big data, robotics, environmental consultancy, infrastructure, education, technology, automotive manufacturing, and app development to the BGF portfolio.
  • BGF Ventures invested £26m in 2016, and has now backed a total of 13 companies. With a £200m initial capital allocation, BGF Ventures is the largest venture firm to invest exclusively in UK early-stage digital businesses. In the 16 months since launch, BGF Ventures has firmly established itself as a key source of funding for the UK's most exciting and ambitious technology companies.

BGF becomes a new force for AIM listed companies

  • In 2016, BGF made 21 investments in AIM listed companies, investing £53m. Working closely with AIM listed companies and their advisers, BGF is providing a new and distinctive source of funding for UK listed growth companies. With an overall quoted portfolio now in excess of £100m, and having shown growth of 35 percent in 2016, BGF has established itself as a significant new investor on the AIM market.

Continues to support earlier investments and begins to see returns generated from successful exits

  • Critically, as a long term patient capital investor, BGF provided additional funding to existing investee companies - more than £113m was provided in additional funding to existing BGF-backed businesses to support further growth, at home and abroad, across all sectors. This included additional investment for Gymbox, which has opened three new sites following BGF’s initial investment in July 2014, and The Coaching Inn Group, whose revenues have increased by a third over the past six months. BGF’s initial investment of £4.5 million in March 2015 has helped the Group to purchase and operate an additional six properties.
  • Five successful exits were completed in 2016, including most recently, Molecular Products, which was acquired by a US private equity firm. The deal resulted in a successful outcome for all shareholders. The returns made by BGF will now be reinvested into other growing companies, a true virtuous circle.

CEO of BGF, Stephen Welton said: “Last year’s exceptional investment activity was not the outcome of an unprecedented sequence of events, but rather the result of all the detailed work we have undertaken since 2011 to build a significant nationwide infrastructure and ensure that our promise of long-term funding and support is heard and understood.

“Small and mid-sized companies will face serious headwinds in the next 12 months, not all of them blowing in the same direction. That is one reason that I am even more determined that BGF will remain the most dynamic growth investor for smaller and innovative companies in the UK - visible, active, and continuing to play a leading role by focusing on growth and backing great British companies and entrepreneurs. And we will work wherever we can with others, to support initiatives that recognise the role of ambitious small and mid-sized companies, as well as entrepreneurs, in maintaining and growing Britain’s stature in the post-Brexit world. Now is not the time to sit on the side lines.”