Construction SMEs using invoice finance enjoy best quarter of performance since 2008
SMEs in the construction sector have experienced their highest performing Q1 since 2008, according to the latest Business Factors Index (BFI) from Bibby Financial Services, the UK’s largest independent invoice provider.
The BFI tracks the turnover of Bibby Financial Services’ 4,000 SME clients across construction, manufacturing, wholesale, transport and business services sectors. Performance is expressed as a numerical figure, based on a base mark of 100 for all clients when the Index began in 2008.
The funding provider’s construction clients have seen a period of significant growth since Q1 2012, with the Index for the last quarter standing at 102.6, up nine points from 93.6 in Q1 2012.
This can be contrasted with construction output in the wider sector which according to figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) fell by 6.5% over the same period.
Graham Plater, sales director for construction at Bibby Financial Services says: “The first quarter of 2013 has undoubtedly been tough for a lot of SMEs, but the BFI shows our construction clients performing well and investing in their businesses in the last twelve months – a far cry from Q1 2009 when activity dropped to only 76 points, and in stark contrast to the performance of the wider construction industry.
“Our construction finance team has been hearing positive news from clients who have weathered the economic storm of the past five years and are now looking to invest for the future by using alternative funding solutions.”
ONS data released this month suggested that construction output fell by 2.4 per cent in the first three months of the year. However, the latest Markit/CIPS Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) shows the sector improving with steady growth from March to April.
Vince McCormick of V&C, a construction company based in Swansea said: “We have seen significant growth over the past year reaching a turnover of £2.2million, which exceeded our initial forecast, and this has enabled us to free up more funds as a result of our funding facility.”
Mr Plater added:
“Businesses using funding solutions such as invoice finance, to grow their businesses through investment are helping to restore confidence in the construction sector and, subsequently, the wider economy.”
The Q1 Business Factors Index can be downloaded from the Bibby Financial Services website at: www.bibbyfinancialservices.com
Case study – V&C (SW) Limited
Construction firm achieves business growth through specialist finance solution
When Vince McCormick was looking to fund his new firm in the construction sector during challenging economic conditions, he turned to Bibby Financial Services because they were the only provider in the market with the right expertise to finance the venture.
Mr McCormick runs V&C (SW) Limited, based in Swansea but operating all over the country providing painting, dry lining and plastering services to major housing developers. Taking a risk averse view on the sector, it was difficult to get funding from the banks for a construction business so Mr McCormick sought an alternative finance solution to fund his new business and chose Bibby Financial Services’ specialist construction finance facility.
As he was developing his firm, Mr McCormick says the relationship that has been built up over that time has been integral to his business development.
He said: “To provide finance in this sector you really have to understand how construction works, and Bibby Financial Services has that specialist knowledge, which is why I have remained a customer over the past six years. Without their support, I don’t think I would be in business today.”
The funder’s construction finance product provided the solution for Mr McCormick’s business challenge as it advances finance against customer billing as soon as it is raised, including funding uncertified applications for payment. In addition V&C’s customers are mainly large blue chip companies, which meant backing the new venture was a straight forward decision.
Mr McCormick adds: “We have seen significant growth over the past year reaching turnover of £2.2million, which exceeded our initial forecast, and has enabled us to free up more funds as a result of our funding facility with Bibby Financial Services. I know they will look after the business as they really know what they are doing in the sector, which gives me the confidence I need to focus on growth.”
With the backing of £250,000 construction finance funding facility, in the past year the company has grown from its Swansea base to an employer of six staff with a team of around 40 self-employed tradesmen.
Mr McCormick says he is hopeful for the future of the business in a sector which saw growth of 0.3 per cent in Q4 2012, according to GDP.
He said: “There is a lot of work out there especially if you’re able to give a good service. A lot of self-employed tradesmen left the sector during the recession and went into a steady job because conditions were tough.
“As a result there are fewer people around now which means if you have been able to stay in business there is a demand for your service. But most importantly we know we have the available funding to back business growth going forward this year.”
Graham Plater, construction finance sales director at Bibby Financial Services, said: “This arrangement represents precisely the kind of support our specialist construction finance team is able to provide firms in this sector.
“We value our level of expertise in construction and a long-established relationship such as we have with Vince McCormick demonstrates the long-term value of construction finance in growing your construction business.”