BGF targets fresh Scottish opportunities after investing £20m in 2019

BGF head of central Scotland and Northern Ireland Patrick Graham (centre) with the Edinburgh team. Picture: Contributed
BGF head of central Scotland and Northern Ireland Patrick Graham (centre) with the Edinburgh team. Picture: Contributed
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Equity investor BGF is seeking new additions to its portfolio after providing almost £20 million to high-growth Scottish companies in 2019.

BGF, formerly known as Business Growth Fund, said it is targeting further opportunities in Scotland as it praised a resilient performance by portfolio companies amid ongoing uncertainty.

Mike Sibson (far right) and the Aberdeen team. Picture: Contributed

Mike Sibson (far right) and the Aberdeen team. Picture: Contributed

Mike Sibson, head of BGF’s Aberdeen team, said the fund is “continuing to grow and meet more ambitious companies in the country that are ready to go for growth and accelerate”.

New additions to its Scottish portfolio in 2019 include Dundee-based mobile app developer Waracle, which plans to create up to 100 jobs in Scotland on the back of a £4.8m funding package.

BGF also pointed to expansion among its existing portfolio companies during the past year, such as Parklands Group, which it backed with a £5m deal in 2018.

The Moray-based care home provider is using the funding to develop a 40-bed care facility in Fortrose, due to launch in the summer.

Meanwhile Edinburgh-based fancy dress supplier MorphCostumes, the business behind the Morphsuit, unveiled a £3.1m revenue rise, reporting annual sales of £12.4m. It is also expecting e-commerce sales to almost double following its acquisition of costume-maker Fun Shack in 2019.

BGF bought a minority stake in MorphCostume’s parent company AFG Media, for £4.2m in 2012.

'Continuing to find new opportunities'

Sibson said: “This has been a solid year for BGF and a successful one for our portfolio companies. They represent an encouraging, diverse and dynamic group of businesses that, with funding and support, have been able to take advantage of opportunities in the market.

“We’re looking forward to 2020 and continuing to support businesses with the long-term capital and support they need to realise their potential.”

Last week, the investor announced a £2m deal to support Livingston-based Window Supply Company’s ambitious expansion strategy, including plans to create up to 85 jobs by 2023.

BGF has made 33 investments in Scotland since its formation in 2011, committing a total of more than £280m north of the Border, and claims to be the UK and Ireland’s most active investor in growing businesses.

The fund provides patient capital to small and medium-sized businesses in exchange for a minority, non-controlling equity stake.

Patrick Graham, head of central Scotland and Northern Ireland, added: “We are continuing to find exciting new opportunities to back founders whose businesses have real potential to scale up.

“We are cognisant of the fact that all sectors of the economy are operating in an uncertain environment, but Scotland’s entrepreneurial businesses have proved time and again that they are not only resilient but also keen to forge ahead.”