ThinCats lands £160m equity investment to increase balance sheet lending
Wafra Capital Partners and Quilam Capital will become significant minority shareholders in the business, which will seek to expand loans made against its own balance sheet.
The new cash will mean the investors will take a significant minority shareholding in the business, AltFi understands, pushing its private valuation into the hundreds of millions.
The firm, which started off as peer-to-peer lender lending between £1m and £15m to SMEs, has deployed more than £1bn to UK SMEs since it launched in 2011. It was acquired by ESF Capital in December 2015, which bought out three-quarters of the business with its CEO Jon Mould taking over as CEO.
In the past three years or so, its business has further evolved following the shutting of its retail platform and the hiring of ex Lehman Brothers securitisation chief Amany Attia as its CEO.
Over this period, the alternative lender has seen its loan book increase tenfold to £500m with £289m originated in 2020.
Its new investors Wafra Capital Partners, an arm of the Public Institution for Social Security of Kuwait, owned by the State of Kuwait, and Quilam Capital, a UK-based speciality finance provider, will sit alongside senior bank and institutional funding.
ThinCats will use the new capital to expand lending through both larger loan sizes and new product development and will be lending more from its own balance sheet also.
Amany Attia, CEO, ThinCats, says mid-sized businesses are feeling more confident as the economy recovers from the pandemic and are looking to rebuild working capital and expand either organically or through acquisition.
“We are delighted to announce this significant investment by WCP, reinforcing their belief in our business. WCP is an exceptional partner with proven experience in supporting speciality finance platforms. WCP shares our vision to deliver real scale of funding to UK SMEs.”
Ravi Anand, Managing Director, ThinCats: added “WCP’s investment follows a thorough process of engagement with the investor community. We chose WCP because of their deep experience with alternative lenders and the flexible nature of their capital.”
“To date, we have successfully raised £750m of lending capital. Now, alongside WCP’s investment, we are close to completing two senior bank funding agreements which will provide an immediate additional £500m to support UK SMEs into 2022.”