News from Kennet and the rest of the finance industry

All the news from Kennet Equipment Leasing and the financial industry in large.

We will endeavour to keep this area as up to date as possible so keep returning to read all about it!

Steve Swift is appointed STAR Asset Finance Group CEO

STAR Asset Finance Limited has appointed Steve Swift - current MD of Kennet Equipment Leasing - as Group CEO. STAR has been on the acquisition trail since July 2014 - when it acquired Kennet - as it builds an enviable stable of UK-based SME finance providers.

Kennet was swiftly followed by Ignition Credit PLC in March 2015, and further complemented by FirstCapital Finance in December 2015.

As Group CEO, Steve will work with the teams at Kennet, Ignition and First Capital to continue the successful growth and development of the Group.

On his new appointment, Steve Swift commented; "I am looking forward to working more closely with the Directors and Founders of both Ignition and First Capital, as we capitalise on our individual strengths and build a brand under STAR that will be able to take advantage of the many opportunities that exist in the UK SME asset finance market."

Sam Geneen, Chairman at STAR, said of the appointment "Since July 2014, STAR has acquired three of the most successful UK SME finance companies. Our next step is to ensure that each company is allowed to continue its impressive growth whilst bringing economies of scale and efficiencies to the group. Steve is experienced in driving businesses forward and is ideally suited to his new role".

About Kennet

Kennet has been arranging financing for SMEs for 25 years. Since inception, the company has arranged over £500 million in equipment financing for small and medium-sized companies across the UK. The company has a strong reputation for customer service and has been recognised through various industry awards. Kennet arranges financing for all business-essential assets throughout many industries. Individual financings range from £250 to £250,000 per transaction.

Kennet Equipment Leasing Own Book Lending Hits £20 Million

Kennet Equipment Leasing has achieved £20 Million in Own Book receivables – well ahead of target.

Acquired in June last year by STAR Capital ("STAR"), Kennet has had considerable investment, meaning that they are now not only a leading independent finance broker, but can now be considered as a "challenger bank".

Kennet Managing Director Steve Swift said, "Kennet, as a leasing broker, achieves fantastic results by virtue of the support it receives from both STAR and other funders. Now that we also have our own considerable financial resources available to underwrite more deals ourselves, we can offer even greater customer choice via both brokered and Own Book channels. "It is our primary commitment to build Kennet into one of the largest UK leasing finance providers for SME businesses. We are already well placed to hit our target of £50 Million of Own Book receivables by 2017; having set our £20 Million target to be met by the end of 2015, we have achieved this 6 months ahead of schedule. "Coupled with our financial performance, we continue to strive to give impressive levels of customer service and subsequently the company's growth continues apace – we have already added 12 new staff to our team since the start of the year, with more expansion plans afoot"

Established in 1990, Kennet Equipment Leasing celebrates its Silver anniversary this year. From humble beginnings with 3 staff in a spare room, it now employs over 72 people.

£50m committed financing facility dedicated to UK SMEs

Kennet Equipment Leasing Limited ("Kennet"), one of the leading independent equipment finance providers to small and medium-sized enterprises ("SMEs"), has signed a £50m committed financing facility to provide financing to UK SMEs.

The innovative financing facility is provided by Commerzbank backed by a guarantee from the European Investment Fund ("EIF"). The facility will enable Kennet and the STAR Asset Finance Group to further extend financing to existing and new customers and provide a vital source of financing to small and medium-sized businesses in the UK.

Commenting on the announcement, Steve Swift, Managing Director of Kennet, said: "For 25 years Kennet has been arranging financing for small and medium-sized companies. Today's development marks another significant step in the development of Kennet as this facility provides us with the ability to significantly expand our lending activities to existing and new SME customers. We appreciate the trust that Commerzbank and EIF have put in Kennet and are looking forward to continue serving the UK community of small and medium-sized businesses."

Neil Aiken, Head of Structured Capital Markets, Commerzbank Corporates & Markets, said: "Commerzbank has a strong track record in financing SMEs and creating innovative financing facilities that enable companies to grow. The facility that we were able to structure for Kennet in partnership with EIF meets both objectives. It allows us to support a growing company, while at the same time provide much needed financing to UK SMEs, one of the key drivers of the UK economy."

George Passaris, Head of Securitisation of EIF, said: "EIF is the leading developer of risk financing for entrepreneurship and innovation across the EU with a strong focus on helping and supporting SMEs through their development stages. We are very pleased to have provided a guarantee and participated in the structuring of this highly innovative facility for Kennet which has a strong catalytic effect towards additional financing for UK SMEs."

About Kennet

Kennet has been arranging financing for SMEs for 25 years. Since inception, the company has arranged over £500 million in equipment financing for small and medium-sized companies across the UK. The company has a strong reputation for customer service and has been recognised through various industry awards. Kennet arranges financing for all business-essential assets throughout many industries. Individual financings range from £250 to £250,000 per transaction.

About the STAR Asset Finance Group

Kennet is a subsidiary of STAR Asset Finance Limited, a platform established and managed by STAR Capital Partners, to consolidate independent asset finance providers across the UK. A unique element of the strategy is to provide owners of asset finance businesses with the opportunity to take an equity participation in the longer term growth and value creation associated with a much larger asset finance entity which has balance sheet strength, critical mass and economies of scale. With its second fund now fully invested, STAR is currently fundraising for its third fund.

www.starassetfinance.com

About Commerzbank

Commerzbank is a leading international commercial bank with branches and offices in more than 50 countries. With the business areas Private Customers, Mittelstandsbank, Corporates & Markets and Central & Eastern Europe, its private customers and corporate clients, as well as institutional investors, profit from a comprehensive portfolio of banking and capital market services. Commerzbank finances more than 30 per cent of Germany's foreign trade and is the unchallenged leader in financing for SMEs. With its subsidiaries comdirect and Poland's mBank it owns two of the world's most innovative online banks. With approximately 1,100 branches and approximately 90 advisory centres for business customers Commerzbank has one of the densest branch networks among German private banks. In total, Commerzbank boasts approximately 15 million private customers, as well as 1 million business and corporate clients. The Bank, which was founded in 1870, is represented at all the world's major stock exchanges. In 2014, it generated gross revenues of almost EUR 9 billion with an average of approximately 52,000 employees.

www.commerzbank.com

About EIF

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank group. Its central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment. EIF's total net commitments to private equity funds amounted to over EUR 8.8bn at end 2014. With investments in over 500 funds, EIF is a leading player in European venture due to the scale and the scope of its investments, especially in high-tech and early-stage segments. EIF's guarantees loan portfolio totalled over EUR 5.6bn in over 350 operations at end 2014, positioning it as a major European SME guarantees actor and a leading micro-finance guarantor.

www.eif.org

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