Corporate finance advisers survey shows growing confidence in SME market

ThinCats, the Ashby-based finance provider to medium-sized SMEs, has released findings from its latest UK-wide survey of corporate finance advisers.

The survey, which gathered opinions from over 70 UK debt advisory firms, indicates a notable improvement in sentiment compared to six months ago.

A majority of respondents (59%) reported increased activity from SMEs compared to the previous six months, alongside a growing appetite for funding from owner-managed businesses.

Non-bank lenders continue to see a positive trend in credit appetite, with 37% of participants reporting higher levels.

33% of advisers noted increased funding availability from high street banks compared to six months ago.

Interest rate levels remained a concern for many businesses seeking external debt.

Political stability was cited as the most crucial factor, with 39% expecting activity levels to increase post-election.

In general business valuations remained unchanged, 52% or decreased, 41% in the past six months.

As expectation gaps narrow, this could influence deal activity in the coming months.

Ravi Anand, managing director at ThinCats, said: “With interest rates peaking and inflation beginning to fall, it is encouraging to see the increasing confidence returning to the market.  A more stable political landscape will give business owners better certainty and we anticipate even greater activity towards the end of 2024.

“Our pipeline is strong and we are seeing more and more business owners looking to capitalise on new opportunities. To meet this growing demand we continue to invest and expand our proposition, launching our Agile Capital product in April and announcing a new £300m commitment to supporting growth for owner-managed businesses across the UK last month.”