Spectrum Birdseye

GAS first business in the North East to receive cash injection from Santander Growth Capital Fund

A North East business with a national client base and fast track growth plans together with European expansion aspirations, has become the first company in the region to receive a cash injection from the Santander Growth Capital fund.

The loan, available through Santander’s Breakthrough programme, offers mezzanine finance at a low rate, helping to bridge the funding gap that exists between traditional bank debt and equity investments.

The deal will enable Great Annual Savings, whose experienced Business Solutions Team work with businesses to reduce their variable costs and ultimately save them money, to accelerate plans to expand its business and build on the success achieved to date.

Formed in 2012, Great Annual Savings has seen growth significantly exceed initial expectations. Bradley Groves, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, who has previously held senior management roles within a number of FTSE 250 companies and the Caudwell Group, comments: “The cash injection we have received is a major boost for the company, as well as for our customers and the local economy.

“The investment will enable us to build on the fantastic success we’ve experienced as a business so far, and will allow us to grow at the pace that we’ve spent the last few years building capacity for.

“We plan on substantially increasing our staff headcount in the coming months, as well as investing heavily in skills development; we don’t just want to be an excellent partner to our business customers, we want to be known as a top employer too.

The business also has major plans to further develop its ICT infrastructure following last year’s installation of real-time business software, and will relocate its headquarters in the near future to reflect the pace of expansion. Great Annual Savings has recently commissioned a North East based marketing consultancy to develop a new brand, website and suite of other communication tools.

“Everyone is a winner as a result of this deal; our staff; our suppliers; and the North East economy because of the jobs we will be creating. Our customers are also set to benefit, as we will be offering an even wider range of business cost savings solutions which will be designed to complement our existing energy, water, telecoms, insurance and fire safety markets.”

Paul Griffiths, Managing Director of Marlin Commercial Limited, who brokered the deal, said: “While working alongside Brad and the board at Great Annual Savings, it became apparent to me immediately that the company required a bank that could match this ambition and provide long-term, ongoing support and service.

“Great Annual Savings is growing at a rapid pace and the investment team from Santander recognises this and is key to the company’s expansion plans and future job creation.

“The Breakthrough scheme offers more than just a traditional method of funding, which I believe is important to UK businesses looking to grow. Santander proved to be the right fit for the company and took a commercial approach to the deal with a personal touch.”

Vanessa Collins, Relationship Director for Santander Corporate & Commercial Banking said: “We feel strong that SMEs are vital to the health of the UK economy. The North East has many ambitious, fast-growing businesses that will play a key role in creating jobs and generating economic benefits for the region. We are delighted to have supported Brad and his team at this important point in the development of their business and look forward to working with them over the coming months.”

Groves concludes: “The Great Annual Savings Board has ambitious plans. We aim to become one of the UK’s fastest growing companies, and believe that this deal will help us achieve that. Santander has been excellent to work with; very sensible and pragmatic. They took the time to get to know the business but were fast, efficient and responsive to our needs. I feel that we’re at the beginning of a long term partnership with Santander. We certainly don’t feel like ‘just another investment.’”​​​​​​​​

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Paul JohnsonGroup Financial Director

Paul Johnson is very much a home-grown talent.

He joined Great Annual Savings Group in its infancy, fresh from a youth career as a professional footballer with Hartlepool United.  He quickly established a reputation within the business and aced all required accountancy qualifications in the space of four years to become the Group’s Management Accountant.

Several successful projects later, Paul was promoted to Head of Finance.  When the former FD left GAS, he took on the mantle of the business’ most senior finance professional; boasting a string of incredible achievements all under the age of 30.

Quote:

“I have witnessed phenomenal growth at the Group over the many years I’ve worked here and I’m looking forward to guiding the Group into an exciting new chapter.”

Interesting fact:

Paul made his professional debut for Hartlepool United against Bournemouth in the Football League.  Some say Danny Ings still resides in his pocket to this day.