New regional fund completes £10m deal for Blackpool firm

Toscafund Asset Management’s recently-launched Tosca Debt Capital has invested £10m in Blackpool-based 1st Stop Group.

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The Second Lien facility is the first deal for Tosca Debt Capital and will enable 1st Stop Group, which specialises in car finance, personal and home loans, to drive forward its ambitious growth plans.

The £10m debt capital investment will assist the Group, which was crowned one of the region’s fastest-growing companies in 2015, to drive new opportunities within each of its three core markets.

Tosca Debt Capital provides debt capital to regional SMEs to facilitate buy-outs and acquisitions, capital raising and refinancing/enhancement of existing facilities.

The Fund aims to raise £110m in secured debt capital by early 2016, which is specifically reserved for SMEs seeking investments of between £5 - £15m to enter the next phase of growth.

Richard Williams, partner at Toscafund, said: “We’re delighted to have completed our first deal to support such an ambitious regional corporate. 1st Stop Group has a determined and experienced management team who have helped it establish a niche position.

“We saw great potential in the business from day one and our support along with the UK’s positive economic outlook will help 1st Stop Group capitalise on the UK’s increasing appetite for personal finance and loans.”

Alex Mollart, chief executive of 1st Stop Group, added: “Toscafund shares our vision for the future and has demonstrated its confidence in our potential by investing £10m into the business. The second lien facility will further support the group’s current debt suppliers and allow us to take a significant step forward with our growth plans.

“Being the first business to receive investment from Toscafund is a notable achievement and given the practical and pragmatic approach that we’ve received from the team, we’re sure that many more firms will reap the same benefits.” Corporate finance advice was provided by Deloitte, legal advice from DLA Piper and Brabners and financial due diligence by Grant Thornton.