Praetura kickstarts 2022 with £18.5m to support the growth ambitions of UK SMEs

Praetura kickstarts 2022 with £18.5m to support the growth ambitions of UK SMEs

Praetura Commercial Finance has provided more than £18.5m of funding to support the growth ambitions of two northern SMEs in the first month of 2022.

The first deal of the year saw Praetura support logistics and warehousing group OTIF on its £12.5m acquisition of John Truswell & Sons, the family-owned distribution business based in Barnsley, in a deal that marked OTIF’s third acquisition in five years.

OTIF is owned and operated by entrepreneur Graham Darnell, and the acquisition enables the group to strengthen its distribution network. Darnell has already recognised the opportunity for expansion and is planning to increase Truswell’s haulage capacity by more than 17%, supporting the company’s wider existing expansion plans. This will be supported by the wider OTIF Group’s network combined with Truswell’s established infrastructure, including its warehousing and office facilities in Barnsley.

Praetura Commercial Finance’s team was instrumental in negotiating the deal, and a team from Praetura Asset Finance helped to create a more flexible mix of funding facilities that met the business’ goals.

Graham Darnell, managing director at OTIF Group, said: “Praetura immediately understood our long-term goals and what the company was trying to achieve. The funding process was straightforward, efficient and their team ensured we completed within our target timeframe.”

The deal was introduced and managed through Praetura’s long-term broker relationship with PMD Business Finance, a finance company known for its continued success in the structured finance arena. Callum Bull, structured finance director at PMD Business Finance, said: “We are delighted to have supported Graham with his latest acquisition, in what was an important deal for the group’s future growth plans. It was refreshing to work with a lender who was able to take a commercial approach across multiple products to deliver the required funding package.”

Praetura Commercial Finance’s second deal of the year saw the team provide a £6m growth finance facility to an innovative supplier of allergy-sensitive goods. Praetura’s client supplies some of the biggest names in the UK retail and grocery sector and whilst the pandemic has created challenges for the retail sector, the company is now pursuing further expansion following several substantial contract wins.

Stuart Bates, founder and commercial director of Praetura Commercial Finance, said: “Over the last six months, Praetura has witnessed a substantial increase in the number of funding applications submitted as UK entrepreneurs look to rebuild and grow after the pandemic.”

“Many entrepreneurs and management teams feel empowered to take their businesses into their own hands. We’ve seen a real increase in funding requests to support management buyouts, management buy-ins and acquisitions, as well as an interest in refinance deals that give businesses the financial flexibility to get back on track.

“The pandemic has clearly driven more entrepreneurs to specialist finance providers who will take the time to understand their business’ strengths, weaknesses and assets, compared to more institutional lenders who will only focus on their previous lending history. The added bonus of working with Praetura is the collaborative approach between the companies in our lending division, which increases the options available.”

According to the recent Experian M&A Review, Praetura Commercial Finance was the North West’s leading debt provider in 2021.

Both Praetura Commercial Finance and Praetura Asset Finance are part of the wider North-West based Praetura Group, a specialist equity and debt funding business aimed at providing an alternative to more rigid institutional lenders. Founded in 2011, the group posted record figures in 2021 and increased its total loan book to over £200m.

Parties who helped facilitate the deal included Teneo Advisory, Bermans, Squires, Kay Johnson Gee, and Tallon Valuers.

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