Scottish Enterprise makes £56m on investments

Kerry Sharp

Scottish Enterprise said on Thursday that income generated by its equity and debt investments was £56 million during the last financial year – a record amount.

Seven trade exits contributed to the total in FY 2020-21, as did a partial realisation of the economic development agency’s shares in Linlithgow telecoms equipment company Calnex Solutions following its IPO in October 2020.

Alongside its investment, Scottish Enterprise said it provided Calnex with “wraparound services” in the company’s journey “from start-up to scale-up to IPO.”

The value of the agency’s investment portfolio increased from £309 million in FY 2019-20 to £423 million during the year.

The portfolio now comprises over 340 companies operating in several sectors across Scotland.

They include Dundee-headquartered e-commerce company Snappy Shopper, Edinburgh-based agritech business Intelligent Growth Solutions, and Stonehaven-located electric vehicle charging system developer Trojan Energy.

Scottish Enterprise has provided commercial equity and debt finance to predominantly early-stage companies with high-growth potential since 2003.

Kerry Sharp, Director of Growth Investments at Scottish Enterprise, said: “Last year was our strongest year on record in terms of income generated, demonstrating the significant financial returns that can result from adopting a patient approach to investing risk capital in innovative, early-stage, high-growth companies in Scotland.

“These companies continue to make a positive contribution to Scotland’s economy, with returns being recycled into new projects that will support further economic growth.”

Most of the agency’s investments are made via its two main equity funds – the Scottish Co-investment Fund and the Scottish Venture Fund – alongside investment from private sector investors.

FY 2020-21 saw Scottish Enterprise invest £78 million into 177 companies, leveraging £122 million of private sector investment.

The agency expects this investment to support the creation of more than 900 new jobs, at least £11 million of capital expenditure, and over £60 million of investment in research and development activity.

Sharp added: “We continue to work with a wide range of domestic and international private sector co-investors to support those early-stage innovators whose success is intrinsic to future economic growth.

“Effective collaboration between the public and private sectors is vital to enabling Scotland’s transition to a more inclusive and sustainable net-zero economy.”