MSIF boosts job creation

Merseyside Special Investment Fund has launched its second fund with GBP80 million to invest in small- and medium-sized businesses in the Merseyside region. The new fund is over twice the size of its predecessor, which was launched five years ago and has committed GBP32 million to around 600 businesses. The second fund will be able to make larger investments of between GBP1.25 million and GBP2 million. It will back over 1,000 businesses, creating 7,500 jobs and bringing an additional GBP150 million of outside finance into Merseyside.

MSIF has secured GBP22 million from Barclays and GBP22 million from Merseyside Pension Fund. The UK Government has granted a further GBP36 million. Minister to the Cabinet Barbara Roche handed over the formal offer letter from the Government office to MSIF development director Neil Kemsley, who led the project. “The process has been complex, but the deal is now done and we are delighted that everything is signed and sealed. This really is tremendous news for businesses on Merseyside and in jobs terms it’s a huge boost.”

This time round, the new fund will be managed in-house by Alliance Fund Managers and a new chief executive for the fund, Mark Fuller, has been appointed.

MSIF chairman, Michael Davis said: “Merseyside may have a tougher economic climate than other parts of the UK, but we know there is a great deal of entrepreneurial talent here and we want to play our part in harnessing that potential so that new businesses can thrive and prosper.

The first investment from the fund has already been made in Agility, a chemical logistics business formed as the result of a management buyout from ICI. The company has received buyout funding to the tune of GBP1.7 million from the Merseyside Special Investment Fund, Barclays and a Regional Selective Assistance grant from the UK’s Department of Trade and Industry.

Agility will move to Merseyside where it is expected to create 28 full time jobs over the next three years. The company places in excess of GBP130 million of freight procurement business each year and is one of the largest buyers of chemical freight and shipping space in Europe.