Experienced banker Rob Barber has joined the UKSE investment team in Wales.
He has been appointed Area Manager with a brief to grow UKSE’s investment portfolio in Wales. He brings a thorough understanding of helping Welsh businesses expand and thrive after 33 years with Lloyds Bank where he was Area Director Commercial Banking South East Wales.
He also recently worked for Development Bank of Wales as a Senior Manager within the Portfolio Monitoring Team looking after a range of their clients.
Tata Steel subsidiary UKSE provides strategic loan and equity packages of up to £1 million to firms to unlock their growth potential.
Rob says that Welsh companies do not always appreciate the advantages of equity-based investment, on its own or alongside a loan. “Working with an equity partner such as UKSE can be an excellent way to expand a business, bringing in capital and outside expertise at the same time,” he said.
Businesses can sometimes be reluctant to use equity to raise finance as they fear losing control, so choosing the right investor is vital. “At UKSE we have extensive experience in working with companies. We have a light touch, flexible exit options and work hard to understand our clients and support them in meeting their business objectives”.
Against the background of rising interest rates pushing up the cost of debt, equity investment is becoming a more attractive option. “Often a balanced package of debt and equity can be the best way forward depending on the individual business and its aims,” he said.
UKSE works in former steel areas to enhance the economy and help create long-term, sustainable jobs. The investment team was strengthened recently with the appointment of Howard Thompson, previously in charge of the Welsh Government’s digital technology programme Superfast Business Wales, and has made a series of investments in Welsh businesses such as Traker Engineering in Taffs Well, Dragon Recycling Ebbw Vale and M&J Europe in Tredegar.
Glyn Thomas UKSE Regional Manager said he was delighted to welcome Rob to the organisation. “He brings a great deal of experience and depth of knowledge and will be a hugely valuable addition to the team in Wales. At UKSE we are dedicated to supporting Welsh businesses which have ambitions to grow and create lasting jobs and I am sure Rob will play a major role in this.”