SCR helps ICS arrange funding for a shareholder buy out

NOTTINGHAM call centre ICS says it plans to expand after management bought out two of the company's founding investors.

The Talbot Street company, which has 120 staff, provides call centre services round the clock 365 days a year for more than 2,000 clients, providing remote call-out and receptionist services.

The firm was founded eight years ago by Mark and Sarah Menhennet on their kitchen table and today it turns over £3m – making profits of at least 25%.

It recruited David Chapman and Glenn and Helen Harris in the firm's infancy to help establish and grow the business and the last two have been bought out by the Menhennets who have ambitious plans to grow the firm to a £10m turnover.

Sterling Capital Reserve brokered funding of £250,000 for the buyout and expansion. We negotiated investment through ThinCats.com, a website which has access to potential finance and investors.

Mr Menhennet turned to Sterling after his bank declined to help with the share buyout. Despite the current lending environment, ICS felt confident that a continued growth, up 30% in the last 12 months and 22% prior to that, would serve them well. However, although sympathetic, the bank manager told them that they would not be able to assist but introduced them to us.

Sterling arranges commercial finance, seeking flexible solutions for clients. Over the last year, we have introduced the concept of peer-to-peer lending into the business, putting potential lenders in touch with those seeking finance.

Many lenders are frustrated with their returns in traditional savings and investments while borrowers struggle to access traditional forms of finance.

ThinCats.com became the UK's first online marketplace allowing investors to make secured loans directly to UK businesses.

Before they can be featured in an auction for a loan, companies have to gain the support of one of the ThinCats' sponsors who helps the company prepare an information pack describing the deal.

Sponsors have well-established track records in the banking and corporate finance industry and meet the company face to face several times to prepare the report.

In the case of ICS Group, the sponsor was Mr Griffiths of Sterling Capital Reserve.

With banks increasingly reluctant to lend, they are still keen to look after their customers and that is where we are gaining a lot of referrals.

From first meeting to "money in the bank" took five weeks.

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