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HBJ Gateley sees change in funding needs

Debt finance back as confidence returns to market

HBJ GateleyDebt funding has returned to Scottish corporate activity as a result of more robust balance sheets and strategies , according to HBJ Gateley.

Greater confidence in a more active economy, backed by low inflation and interest rates is encouraging firms to raise debt for expansion.

The law firm, which closed deals supported by more than £1 billion of debt in 2014, said greater confidence in the debt markets was being passed through to Scottish corporates with strong balance sheets and robust business plans, with signs the momentum should continue in 2015.

Renewed confidence has led to more organisations seeking fresh funding packages to help meet operational costs and to fund growth.

This has had a knock-on effect for HBJ Gateley’s banking and finance team which acted as lead counsel on more than 80 deals last year with an aggregate debt value of more than £1bn.

The deals covered a broad range of sectors including energy, food and drink, healthcare, manufacturing and property (including housing and construction).

Tom Speirs, head of banking at HBJ Gateley, said: “After dealing with a depressed market for several years it’s encouraging to see a marked upswing in deal completions.

“With organisations having come through the most challenging years many now have strong business models which are helping to secure sizable debt facilities.

“We’re seeing fresh funding secured in a broad range of sectors, with a marked increase in activity in a number of key sectors together with a welcome resurgence of MBO deals.”

Turnover at the firm, which opened its Aberdeen office in August last year, grew by 9.5% to £17.7 million, with profits increasing 19.9% to £8.5m.

Mr Speirs said: “The sheer breadth of different deals we’ve been involved with indicates an improving business climate and comes at what remains a challenging time for the UK economy.

“Looking ahead, the signs are good that the momentum gained last year can be maintained, with many of our clients focusing on ambitious plans for growth in the months ahead.”

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