Business finance provider LDF has acquired Scottish-based asset finance broker First Independent Finance.
The combined group, which will provide approximately £400m annually to clients in both the corporate and professions markets, will continue to trade under both the LDF and First Independent Finance brands, employing 175 people.
LDF says that customers of both businesses can now benefit from the group’s capability to provide a much broader set of products, all of which are focused on helping SMEs to better manage their cash flow.
The merger will make it far easier for SMEs to have all their funding requirements dealt with by one finance partner.
LDF says that as banks’ appetite for lending to SMEs remains somewhat restricted, a substantial lending gap has emerged for small and medium businesses looking to invest in assets to drive growth. LDF and First Independent Finance aim to use their combined reach and size to fill this gap to be a major provider of SME finance outside of the banks.
Peter Alderson, managing director of LDF, said: “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.
“While clients will continue to see both the LDF and First Independent Finance brands with the associated deal-making skills and the customer service commitment they have become accustomed to, behind the scenes there will also be substantial improvements made as we look to maximise the complementary skill sets of both businesses.”
“Allan Ross, managing director of First Independent Finance, 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.”