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Record returns for Scottish Enterprise investments

Kerry Sharp: ‘strongest year on record’

Scottish Enterprise saw the value of its investment portfolio rise substantially over the last year, generating a record income and reflecting underlying growth in the firms it backed.

The equity and debt held in a range of companies was last valued at £423m against £309m in 2019/20.

Seven trade exits and a partial realisation of a stake in telecoms equipment company Calnex on its IPO in October last year generated £56m in income during 2020/21, its highest return since it began providing equity and debt support in 2003.

The portfolio now comprises more than 340 companies operating in several sectors across Scotland. These include Dundee-headquartered e-commerce company Snappy Shopper, Edinburgh-based agritech business Intelligent Growth Solutions, and Stonehaven-located electric vehicle charging system developer Trojan Energy.

Kerry Sharp, director of growth investments at Scottish Enterprise, said: “Last year was our strongest year on record in terms of income generated, demonstrating the significant financial returns that can result from adopting a patient approach to investing risk capital in innovative, early-stage, high-growth companies in Scotland.

The agency sold shares in Calnex when it floated last year

“These companies continue to make a positive contribution to Scotland’s economy, with returns being recycled into new projects that will support further economic growth.”

Most of the agency’s investments are made via its two main equity funds – the Scottish Co-investment Fund and the Scottish Venture Fund – alongside investment from private sector investors.

During 2020/21 Scottish Enterprise invested £78m into 177 companies, leveraging £122m of private sector investment.

The agency expects this investment to support the creation of more than 900 jobs, at least £11m of capital expenditure, and more than £60m of investment in research and development activity.

Ms Sharp added: “We continue to work with a wide range of domestic and international private sector co-investors to support those early-stage innovators whose success is intrinsic to future economic growth. 

“Effective collaboration between the public and private sectors is vital to enabling Scotland’s transition to a more inclusive and sustainable net-zero economy.”

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