The last major shock to the UK economy was in 2008 when the debt market was dominated by the high street banks whose appetite to lend all but stopped. However, since then the UK debt landscape has developed beyond recognition, with the addition of numerous new debt providers, such as the Debt Funds and a plethora of debt products providing numerous funding solutions.

As the UK emerges from the current COVID crisis, debt can be harnessed to increase the speed of recovery for the economy by funding both organic and inorganic opportunities for UK corporates.

In the last 12 months, lending has been dominated by Government backed schemes such as CBILS, but as these schemes fall away, there is still plenty of liquidity in the Debt market. In addition to traditional senior debt products (i.e overdraft, invoice discounting, amortising term debt etc), there are numerous specialist debt products available such as unitranche loans and mezzanine products. The uses of debt has diversified beyond traditional purposes with products focused on competing with the equity markets for MBOs, acquisition finance, growth capital, project funding and shareholder re-structuring. Recent examples of HMT securing debt to support our clients include:

Shareholder restructuring and funding for organic growth for a smart technology business – funding was secured to both facilitate a partial realisation for the founders and transition ownership to the current management team as well as supporting the implementation of management’s growth strategy. Utilising a combination of debt products, we were able to ensure that the business was capitalised to take advantage of growth initiatives, whilst delivering upon a complex set of shareholder objectives without the requirement for third party equity dilution or personal guarantees;

Development funding to accelerate national rollout of parking enforcement business – against a backdrop of a weakening/poorly funded competitor base, management identified the opportunity to accelerate its growth with an aggressive site acquisition strategy. We provided detailed modelling support to evaluate growth strategies which could be supported by non-dilutive development capital to drive shareholder value in advance of a future realisation. A funding line was secured to deliver against a transformational roll-out of new sites with future committed capital agreed to ensure future growth initiatives can be seized quickly; and

Funding for support buy and build strategy for sports hospitality group whilst valuations in the sector were depressed – whilst COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the sector, we assisted management in securing acquisition funding to allow them to consolidate a fragmented market and acquire structurally sound businesses with a clear post lock-down recovery strategy. The business has made its first successful acquisition during the pandemic and has a pipeline of additional opportunities. This has been financed through debt with funding headroom maintained to deliver upon future targets.

From discussions with our clients, it is clear that with the uncertainty caused by the UK economy and potential changes to CGT, many are considering raising debt to increase value in their businesses over the medium term before re-considering realising it through an exit, whereas others are utilising this as a non-dilutive means to buy-out existing shareholders who have retained a short term exit horizon.

We would be delighted for the opportunity of an exploratory conversation to understand your objectives and explain what debt solutions are available to you. Please do get in touch with us on +44 (0)1491 579740.