Sheffield’s British Business Investments tops £3bn

Judith Hartley

British Business Investments, a wholly-owned commercial subsidiary of the Sheffield-based British Business Bank plc, has published its annual report for 2020-21 showing a record number of 18 commitments to new and existing partners totalling £473 million.

British Business Bank plc is the UK government’s economic development bank.

British Business Investments delivered pre-tax profit of £107.4 million.

In its seventh year of operation, cumulative commitments for British Business Investments are up 19% year-on-year to over £3 billion.

British Business Investments now supports almost 30,000 smaller businesses across the UK, 85% of which are outside of London.

British Business Investments aims to earn a commercial return by investing – through finance providers – in smaller businesses and small mid-caps, pursuing investments on a fully commercial basis without receiving any economic advantage from the UK government.

British Business Investments CEO Judith Hartley said: “We are pleased to report a strong performance by British Business Investments during 2020/21 and a record year in terms of a number of new commitments and diversification of our portfolio.

“We have continued to make commitments throughout the pandemic, as we wanted to help ensure the UK’s smaller businesses could continue to access finance.

“We are now invested in every nation and region of the UK, and are supporting almost 30,000 small businesses, 85% of which are located outside London.

“Our financial performance has also been strong this year, with pre-tax profit of £107.4m.”

British Business Investments supports the development of more diverse debt and equity finance markets throughout the UK.

To increase the choice of finance for smaller businesses, British Business Investments provides funding through a wide range of finance providers – including peer to peer lenders, small-cap private debt funds, challenger banks, asset finance providers, equity funds-of-funds and regionally-based early-stage investors.

British Business Investments added: “Third parties invest alongside us and in addition to our new commitments of £473m, they have invested a further £1.23bn, meaning that total funding of more than £1.7bn has been delivered to the UK market this financial year …

“Income from investments was £120.5m, delivering pre-tax profit of £107.4m, compared to £35.4m and £22.2m respectively in the previous financial year.”

British Business Investments chair Francis Small said: “As the pandemic tested the UK economy, British Business Investments continued to invest to make sure finance was available to support smaller businesses.

“By remaining alert to its impact on the UK’s smaller businesses and our delivery partners, we were able to adapt our response throughout the year.

“Consequently, we’ve achieved strong results in extremely challenging circumstances.”