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Caple supports the Biopharma Group to acquire Easytesters

Published: 12 February 2020 - Michelle Lea

Alternative SME credit specialist Caple has helped Biopharma Group, a leading biopharmaceutical company, to access a £1.25m eight-year unsecured loan.

Biopharma Group will use the loan to help acquire Easytesters, a hazard analysis testing firm, and implement its growth plans.  The combined business will increase its presence in the food industry and sell an expanded range of products and services to existing customers. 

Firms such as Biopharma Group find access to secured lending a challenge because their business is based on intangible assets, such as intellectual property.  Banks generally need tangible assets to put up as collateral for loans, so raising additional finance for growth was not open to them.

Sean Brophy, UK country manager of Caple, said: “Biopharma Group is a successful business with a strong international presence.  However, because it has limited physical assets to use as collateral, its traditional lenders were unable to support the acquisition of Easytesters.  Our deal demonstrates how unsecured lending helps UK SMEs to grow, by opening new finance channels, without having to give up ownership and control by issuing equity.”

Andrew Cowen, chairman of Biopharma Group, said: “Biopharma is a growing business with a clear plan to continue expanding.  But finding the right kind of finance to support growth has been a challenge.  Options for debt funding are extremely limited for UK SMEs.

“Caple is unique in the market for providing genuinely unsecured credit, which is both simple and transparent, and sits on top of our bank finance.  Our deal with Caple enables us to support our purchase of a great technology in Easytesters, realise its full potential through our existing business and to grow.”      

The Biopharma Group sells diagnostic and processing instrumentation and development services to stabilise the protein in diagnostic testing, vaccines and food.  Employing 100 people, the company operates internationally, primarily in the pharmaceutical and food industries.

Easytesters enables food and drink manufacturers to more quickly and easily monitor food-grade stainless-steel tanks for potential defects.  With more accurate monitoring, manufacturers are able to better maintain equipment and production processes.  

The acquisition of Easytesters supports Biopharma’s plans to increase its profile in the food industry, with strong growth potential.   The enlarged group will initially focus on increasing its penetration of the diary, brewing and juice markets worldwide.    

Caple is the UK’s first firm to offer access to long-term unsecured lending of up to £5m based on the future cash flows of the SME.  It requires no collateral or personal guarantees as security.  The loans also work alongside existing bank lending, meaning firms can have access to more funding than they would get from their bank alone, but allows them to maintain their existing bank relationship.

Caple’s technology platform supports a network of accountants and financial advisors to SMEs that use it to identify suitable borrowers and create the materials used in the process.  This enables an efficient and robust credit process.  

Andy Coghlan, partner at corporate finance firm WK Corporate Finance, who advised Biopharma Group, said: "With an eight-year term, the finance Caple offers access to is an ideal funding solution for Biopharma Group.  It allows the business to integrate and then invest in the growth of Easytesters without the cashflow pressures of more traditional, shorter term, banking facilities."

The loans Caple facilitates are part of BNP Paribas Asset Management’s SME Alternative Financing direct lending platform, which enables SMEs to access funding from institutional investors.  BNP Paribas Asset Management aims to provide €1bn per year in funding to SMEs across Europe.

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