First Independent Finance, the Ayrshire asset finance broker, has been acquired by Welsh rival LDF.
LDF said the deal will create the UK’s largest independent small business finance provider, with annual lending of about £400 million.
The combined group will continue to trade under both the LDF and First Independent Finance brands, employing 175 people.
First Independent Finance, based at Stewarton in East Ayrshire, was founded in 1999 and provides products such as asset finance, invoice finance and commercial mortgages to a range of industries such as agriculture, construction, transport and renewables.
Managing director Allan Ross said: “Our expertise in hard assets, combined with LDF’s leading position in the soft asset and loan markets, makes this merger one that will benefit both businesses and their clients.
“SME demand for finance is strong, and this deal gives us the scale to make a real difference in addressing it. Our combined capabilities and appetite for lending can also help us make a real impact in improving access to business finance in Scotland. The capacity LDF has to lend on its own book is going to mean a step change in the amount of finance we can deliver.”
Peter Alderson, managing director of LDF, added: “This is a deal for growth, and a natural fit for both LDF and First Independent Finance. Both companies are leaders in their fields, making their combined product capability offering and client base the strongest in the SME finance market.”
LDF was founded in Flintshire in 1986. Financial services group Investec sold the business to private equity firm Cabot Square Capital in December 2013.