Ian Smith

Asset finance lender acquired

SME lender 1pm has announced the acquisition of asset finance provider and brokerage Bell Finance Limited for up to £3.4m.

Launched in 2000, Bell acts as both a lender and a broker specialising in deals for hard assets – such as plant and machinery – in the construction, manufacturing and recycling sectors.

1pm has now acquired the entire issued share capital of Bell amid plans to merge the company’s operations into those of its subsidiary Bradgate Business Finance Limited, which it purchased in March 2016.

The deal follows 1pm’s acquisition of bridging, second charge and commercial mortgage packager Intelligent Loans in March.

Ian Smith, CEO of 1pm (pictured above), said: “We are delighted to build on the recently announced acquisition in our loans division, by completing this acquisition for our asset finance division.

“This latest transaction demonstrates our ongoing commitment to delivering on our strategic objectives of building scale and maintaining our funding and broking capabilities.

“The acquisition of Bell and its merger into Bradgate creates a substantial business for the funding of hard assets required by many SME sectors and establishes a platform for further growth.”

As part of the acquisition deal, 1pm has agreed £2.3m in cash payable at completion, including £300,000 placed in escrow for up to six months to be released on achievement of certain integration milestones.

The deal will also contain a further £300,000 of deferred cash and an earn-out of £800,000 comprising both cash and shares.

Richard Batchelor and Mark Durman – the directors and principal shareholders of Bell – have agreed to continue to serve the group by working in conjunction with Bradgate directors Richard Arnold and Ian Sullivan.

The merged business will operate under the Bradgate name from the company’s premises in Leicestershire.

1pm PLC is also the parent company of SME finance provider One pm Finance, motor finance specialist Academy Leasing and bridging packager Intelligent Loans.

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