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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Praetura Asset Finance makes first acquisition

Blackburn-based, Praetura Asset Finance, has announced the expansion of its portfolio through the acquisition of Cheshire-based Kingsway Asset Finance in a seven-figure deal.

The acquisition will create one of the largest independent asset finance companies in the UK. With a combined loan book of over £100m, the enlarged group will offer SMEs a wide range of services to help them thrive and grow. The combination of Praetura’s expertise in hard assets with Kingsway’s specialist knowledge of soft assets and business loans will give the group more flexibility in its approach to lending and help it scale more quickly.

Founded in 2013, Praetura Asset Finance was the first truly independent asset finance funder to enter the UK marketplace in 15 years. Its client-focused and flexible approach to lending has enabled the business to rapidly grow and cement its position within the industry. The deal with Kingsway, itself one of the UK’s longest established independent asset finance and leasing companies, marks Praetura’s first acquisition after years of organic growth.

By combining their expertise, the now 40-strong team will be able to undertake larger and more valuable deals. As part of the Praetura Asset Finance group, Kingsway will be able to access a wider, more secure funding platform, enabling faster growth. Adrian Anthon, the Managing Director of Kingsway, joins the board of Praetura Asset Finance, as well as taking equity in the combined group.

The acquisition was financed by RM Funds, a specialist provider of tailored debt solutions, which structured, executed and subscribed to an initial issuance of a £15m bespoke Loan Note programme.

Mike Hartley, managing director of Praetura Asset Finance, said: “After achieving our five-year plan of building a loan book in excess of £60m, we wanted to take the business to the next level. Our new ‘buy and build’ model will be a key part of our growth strategy moving forward, and Kingsway Asset Finance was the perfect company to join us on this journey. The company complements what Praetura already does, allowing us to widen the group’s product range and help us get to where we want to be as a business.”

Peadar O’Reilly, founding director of Praetura Asset Finance, said: “The fact that Kingsway is a well-known business established on the same foundations as us was really important. They’ve got a talented team with strong management and an exceptional commitment to customer service, helping this country’s small and medium-sized businesses to fulfil their potential”.

Adrian Anthon, managing director of Kingsway Finance, said: “After 21 years as an independent company, I am delighted that Kingsway has joined the Praetura Asset Finance Group. From my first contact with Praetura, I was enthused by our common vision for the future of the enlarged entity and what we can achieve together. The fact that both companies have their own specific strengths and very little overlap was an important factor in my decision to sell Kingsway to Praetura Asset Finance.”

Pietro Nicholls, Portfolio Manager at RM Capital, said: “We are delighted to support Praetura in their acquisition of Kingsway Finance. With a well-established mid-market enterprise, demonstrable cash flows and highly experienced management team, Praetura fits our selective investment criteria. RM Funds is focused on growing and diversifying our portfolio of secured, high quality debt investments.”

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