Reward warchest grows to £25m for 2015

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Business credit provider Reward has increased its funds for 2015 by £5m, bringing the balance for lending to £25m.

The Leeds-based business, which is backed by South African billionaire Christo Wiese, has loaned a total of £88m since its launch in 2012.

The firm had a record year in 2014 across its two divisions, short-term lender Reward Capital and invoice financer Reward Commercial Finance, with 70 transactions completed.

The final quarter of the year alone saw 25 deals completed, including a £1.8m advance to a Scunthorpe-based logistics firm in December.

The results have led the firm’s backer Tradehold - of which Mr Wiese is chairman - to approve additional funds for lending.

Reward provides loans for use in acquisition, refinance, cashflow, stock funding, asset purchase, bridging and turnaround.

Reward partner Dave Jones told The Yorkshire Post that the firm is meeting a need in the market as businesses struggling to access cash at short notice.

He said: “People like to be able to get their hands on cash fairly quickly. Going through the bank can take time and often business opportunities can be missed.”

In the case of the £1.8m loan, the logistics firm was looking to purchase the premises it had been renting. The company was offered a substantial discount by the landlord for a pre-Christmas completion. Reward was able to complete the deal within seven days of initial enquiry.

Reward Capital gives access to funds in a similar way to an overdraft for small businesses, Mr Jones said.

Banks are increasingly stepping away from providing overdrafts as a result of the “serious cost implications” they face in running the service, Mr Jones said.

“Overdrafts are a thing of the past and we’re filling a gap in the marketplace,” he added.

The average advance is around £300,000 and is repaid quickly, often when funding from banks has been processed. As a result, the firm is able to complete transactions greater than the balance of its allocated funds. Total lending for 2015 rise above the £25m fund, Mr Jones said.

Last year also saw the expansion of the business into the North West, with the opening of a Manchester office.

Further expansion is planned this year, including the launch of a trade finance arm, new premises and further recruitment.