Firms can now ap­ply for sup­port from va­ri­ety of busi­ness op­tions

Growth:

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - BUSINESS - BY LEWIS MCKEN­ZIE

Busi­nesses across Scot­land will be able to ac­cess more than £100 mil­lion to help them ex­pand, the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment has an­nounced.

De­liv­ered through the Scot­tish Growth Scheme, the fund­ing is aimed at help­ing small and medium en­ter­prises (SMEs).

SMEs will have the op­por­tu­nity to ap­ply for fi­nan­cial sup­port through a va­ri­ety of ap­pointed fund man­agers.

“It’s im­por­tant busi­ness re­mains con­fi­dent that ac­cess to fi­nance should not hin­der their am­bi­tion”

Fund­ing op­tions in­clude mi­cro­fi­nance loans of up to £25,000, debt or loan fi­nance of up to £100,000, and eq­uity in­vest­ment in deals of up to £2m.

As part of the ini­tia­tive, Scot­tish En­ter­prise (SE) has also in­tro­duced a loans scheme for sums rang­ing from £250,000 to £2m or up to £5m in ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances, for growth­fo­cused SMEs with a vi­able busi­ness plan and a clear abil­ity to re­pay the debt.

Since launch­ing in 2017, the Scot­tish Growth Scheme has in­vested £106m in 82 com­pa­nies.

Econ­omy Sec­re­tary Derek Mackay said: “This next phase of the Scot­tish Growth Scheme will un­lock sub­stan­tial in­vest­ment for the most am­bi­tious of new and ex­ist­ing busi­nesses, help­ing them scale up for the fu­ture.

“Amid the un­cer­tainty of Brexit, it’s im­por­tant that the wider busi­ness com­mu­nity re­mains con­fi­dent that ac­cess to fi­nance should not hin­der their am­bi­tion or growth.

“This di­rect in­vest­ment will boost the econ­omy and give even more com­pa­nies ac­cess to vi­tal cap­i­tal.

“This is both good for busi­ness and good for Scot­land.”

A three-year pro­gramme, the Scot­tish Growth Scheme aims to in­vest a to­tal of more than £500m in busi­nesses.

To re­main in con­tention in the Chevron auc­tion, Pre­mier is weigh­ing up a rights is­sue or a share plac­ing, the re­port said, cit­ing in­dus­try sources.

The com­pany could also di­vest its Latin Amer­i­can busi­ness to re­duce the num­ber of new shares it would need to sell, it was sug­gested.

Pre­mier de­clined to com­ment on “mar­ket spec­u­la­tion”.

It is be­lieved the com­pany is yet to de­cide whether to bid for the Chevron pack­age, and would not con­sider sell­ing its Latin Amer­i­can busi­ness, which in­cludes in­ter­ests in Brazil and Mex­ico.

Pre­mier, which has a base in Kingswells, Aberdeen, re­struc­tured its debts in 2017.

The firm’s fi­nances are grad­u­ally im­prov­ing.

‘GOOD FOR BUSI­NESS’: Econ­omy Sec­re­tary Derek Mackay said the move will help firms ‘scale up for the fu­ture’

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