Medium-sized firms aiming to pay off long-term debts

Almost a third of medium-sized businesses are focused on paying off debts this year, an increase of 18 per cent on 2013.

The survey revealed an apparent disconnect between respondent’s positive view of the current economic environment and their growth ambitions, with smaller firms displaying greater ambitions.

In fact, 44 per cent of firms are happy operating as a mid-market business, with little desire to get any bigger.

Some mid-market businesses said they are entering a period consolidation as uncertainty remains over interest rate decisions, as well as the outcome of the 2015 election.

Jervis Rhodes, head of corporate banking at BLME, said: “Over the past 12 months the UK economy has kicked into gear and this has been reflected in the optimism of mid-market corporates. However, we are starting to see the first signs of change as businesses undertake some financial housekeeping before pursuing the next stage of growth. 

“Our research has shown that while mid-market firms are borrowing on average £24.4m in finance, there has been a fundamental shift in the way they are using it. Finance once used for fuelling expansion, is now being focussed on clearing debts.

“This issue poses some difficult questions: just what needs to be done to inspire and nurture the UK’s big companies of tomorrow? This has far reaching implications for the competitiveness of the UK through issues such as productivity.

“However, when reviewing the financing requirements of the UK mid-market, firms are still being lumped under the ‘SME’ label. Small and medium-sized companies have very different funding needs and we firmly believe that a one-size fits all approach simply does not work. Mid-sized companies need to be treated separately in order to most effectively service their funding requirements, supporting their growth ambitions and in doing so also support one of the UK’s most important economic sub-sectors.”

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