Braveheart’s ‘transformation’ to focus on SMEs

Investment management group Braveheart said its acquisition of the company that manages the £48m Finance Yorkshire Equity Fund has helped propel it forward this year.

Earlier this year Braveheart bought Neon Capital Partners, which manages the fund that supports small to medium sized businesses in the Yorkshire and Humber region.

Chief executive Geoffrey Thomson said: “This year has seen a major transformation of our business and we are now an SME focused fund and services management provider rather than being an investment company.

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“This transformation has taken us a number of years,” he added.

The Finance Yorkshire Equity Fund is scheduled to run until 2018 and invests equity and/or debt in small to medium sized businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber region.

“This acquisition consolidates our position in a region where we already operate as Viking Fund Managers and have various funds under management,” said Mr Thomson.

“Andrew Burton, our regional managing director, has assumed responsibility for both Neon and Viking and in the fullness of time we expect to operate under one brand in the region.”

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Mr Thomson said that the coalition Government has made progress on SME financing, with more money being made available to the sector with an increasing amount of it distributed by intermediaries other than banks.

“While the amounts at this stage are modest, the general trend is good news for SMEs and bodes well for us as a business,” he said.

Braveheart said total fee-based revenue and finance income for the year to March 31 rose 37 per cent to £1.27m.

The group reported a loss before unrealised movements in portfolio investments of £1.51m, up from a loss of £860,000.

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Operating costs included £250,000 in relation to an M&A transaction only part of which was concluded.

Braveheart said that with the value of weaker investments now written off, it is confident about the performance of the ongoing portfolio, which consists of investments in some 20 companies, most of which made “useful progress” during the year.

No material realisations were achieved during the year because Braveheart believes the recession is showing no sign of abating.

The company said that recent progress bodes well for their disposal in a more benign business climate.

The group’s shares closed down 1.6 per cent last night, a fall of 0.25p to 15.75p.