By Peter Cromarty, Head of Business Development at Bibby Financial Services North East

One of the North East’s leading family-run businesses has secured a £3million confidential invoice discounting facility from independent invoice finance provider Bibby Financial Services, strengthening the company’s plans for growth.

Sunderland based Thompson Building Centres, which employees 150 staff, is the largest chain of independent builder’s merchants in the North East, with building centres in South Shields, Durham, Gateshead and Newcastle.

The refinancing will support all of the Thompson Group’s companies, including TAPS plumbers’ merchants and Thompson Waste Management, consolidating their position as market leader and enabling plans for “cautious growth” to be fulfilled.

Managing director, Anne Ganley, says: “Our focus is on developing our existing sites while ensuring our customers continue to receive the very best service. We aren’t looking to pursue any rapid expansion plans but we are looking at the possibility of growing certain areas, such as the opening of further branches of TAPS.”

Mrs Ganley says the decision to negotiate a refinancing deal with Bibby Financial Services was down to a number of factors: “There has been interest from different banks in securing the company’s business but we decided to take our time and consider our options before moving forward.

“For us, Bibby Financial Services won hands down. They were very proactive and driven but at the same time their approach was coupled with very traditional values.

“The fact that the company also has a base in Sunderland and we have a close relationship with their team was also a deciding factor; they clearly know and understand our business.”

Peter Cromarty, head of business development at Bibby Financial Services North East, says: “This refinancing deal underlines our belief in the Thompson Group, their management team and business plan moving forward. Having an association with such an established enterprise and a key employer in the area is something we are very proud of.”

News of the deal comes shortly after the Government launched ‘Funding for Lending’, a new scheme aimed at increasing lending to small businesses through increasing the availability of low cost bank loans.

Bank lending has fallen in every quarter since the coalition government came into power, with Project Merlin and the National Loan Guarantee Scheme, which has now been superseded by Funding for Lending, failing to address the shortfall.

Peter Cromarty adds: “At a time when the Government continues to insist on channelling funding through the banks, this deal adds further proof that alternative funding can provide a viable option for SMEs and that accessing finance is still possible.

“There is a need to reduce businesses reliance on the banks, as outlined in the Breedon Report into non-bank lending, and promote the viability of alternative funding options in order to ease the pressure on the high street banks.

“This is a challenge we remain committed to tackling as we look forward to helping enterprise succeed and grow across the North East of England.”

To learn more about the businesses we support, please visit our video case studies page on our website www.bibbyfinancialservices.com/video-case-studies.aspx.