hilyer simon

Fewer than one-third of UK companies say they have used asset finance or plan to use it in the next year, according to new research.

Niche bank Cambridge & Counties Bank found that 29% of respondents said their firm had used asset finance. Fewer (26%) said they were planning on using asset finance over the next 12 months.

Of those businesses that had used asset finance over the past five years, the primary reason (cited by 20%) was to purchase new plant or equipment while protecting their cash flows.

Other key reasons included because a firm had been unable to extend its overdraft facilities (15%), and because a business had been turned down for a formal loan from their bank or building society (10%).

Other reasons included because asset finance enabled the business to raise funds to release capital against unencumbered assets (13%).

The survey also found that 11% of business owners described the strength of their firm’s working capital facilities as ‘very strong’.

Nearly half (45%) described it as ‘average’, while 12% said it was ‘weak’.

Simon Hilyer, business development manager at Cambridge & Counties Bank, said: “We believe that too many UK businesses are not realising the significant benefits that asset finance can bring them. Many may not be aware of asset finance and the options and types of products that are available to them.

“We would urge UK businesses to see how facilities such as hire purchase and finance leasing can help them maximise capital, investment efficiency and minimise challenges around cash flow.”

Cambridge & Counties Bank is jointly owned by Trinity Hall, a college of the University of Cambridge, and Cambridgeshire Local Government Pension Fund.

They each own 50% of the bank, which is led by chief executive Mike Kirsopp.

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