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Bank up and running

SNIB launches with M Squared Lasers deal

M Squared Lasers Graeme Malcolm

Graeme Malcolm: first recipient of SNIB funds

The Scottish National Investment Bank, funded by the taxpayer to stimulate high growth businesses, has opened for business with the completion of its first investment.

A £12.5 million investment in Glasgow-based M Squared Lasers will support the company’s development and draws on a £2 billion budget allocated to the bank over ten years.

The growth capital in M Squared is part of new financing of £32.5m which also comprises a £20m debt facility from Santander UK which will allow the founders and management team to acquire the substantial part of BGF’s current shareholding.

BGF will retain a meaningful stake, having first invested in the business in 2012 as a long-term partner. 

SNIB’s remit is to provide patient capital – a form of long term investment – for businesses and projects in Scotland, and catalyse further private sector investment.

It has now been established as a public limited company and assumes the functions of the Scottish Enterprise governed Scottish Investment Bank. State Aid approval was received from the European Commission this month.

Bank chairman Willie Watt said: “Today is a key milestone for the Scottish National Investment Bank.

“We are particularly pleased that our first investment is in M Squared which is at the cutting edge of innovation and is a recognised world-leader in its field.

Eilidh Mactaggart, Nicola Sturgeon and Willie Watt

“It is our firm belief that the bank will make many more investments that deliver positive mission impacts in the years and decades to come.”

Dr Graeme Malcolm, CEO and founder M Squared, said: “Science and advanced technologies have a major role to play in Scotland’s future economic prosperity.

“By increasing investment in research and development with a mission-based approach, Scotland has a real opportunity to actively tackle climate change and benefit from the coming quantum revolution.”

Benny Higgins, who provided strategic advice to the First Minister on the establishment of the bank, said: “It has been a privilege to be part of an outstanding effort to make this a reality.

“We could not have predicted that the current pandemic renders the need for mission-led investment even more vital to create a robust, resilient wellbeing economy in Scotland.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The Scottish National Investment Bank will help to tackle some of the biggest challenges we face now and in the years to come, delivering economic, social and environmental returns.


“It is hitting the ground running with its first major investment in M Squared Lasers – a great example of the ambitious and innovative companies we have here in Scotland that will be key to our economic recovery and future prosperity.

“The launch of the bank is one of the most significant developments in the lifetime of this parliament, with the potential for it to transform, grow and decarbonise Scotland’s economy.”

The bank’s chief executive Eilidh Mactaggart was appointed in April and its non-executive directors are: Tracey Ashworth-Davies, Carolyn Jameson, Peter Knott, Jason McGibbon, Nicholas Moon, Candida Morley, Dr Jacqueline Redmond and Sir Jonathan Taylor.

Advisers to the M Squared transaction:  

  • For M Squared – CMS (Legal and Legal Due Diligence), EY (Corporate Finance & Financial and Tax Due Diligence), Deloitte (Tax), Roland Berger (Commercial Due Diligence), Lincoln IP (IP Due Diligence) and Smith Anderson (US Legal). 
  • For Santander UK – Burness Paul (Legal) and Maguire Woods (US Legal). 
  • For the Scottish National Investment Bank – MacRoberts (Legal), Deloitte (Corporate Finance) 
  • For BGF – Addleshaws (Legal)  

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