Rural SME lender joins Alternative Business Funding platform

UKAF assists the rural economy with financial moves such as diversification and land purchases
UKAF assists the rural economy with financial moves such as diversification and land purchases

The UK’s leading SME lender for the rural and agricultural sector has joined the Alternative Business Funding (ABF) platform.

The move means UK Agricultural Finance (UKAF) will be able to offer more expertise in rural finance to farmers and rural SMEs across England, Scotland and Wales.

It offers loans from £100,000 to £10m, over one to seven years, with a maximum LTV of 65%.

Last year, the company joined a select group of alternative finance firms on NatWest’s Capital Connections panel.

It became the 10th lender and first industry specialist on the panel.

Robert Suss, Co-Founder of UKAF, said the uncertainty of Brexit means there is a 'continued drive' to diversify in the rural community.

“There is an increase in the rural community looking at strategies to buffer the potential change in subsidies,” he said.

Speaking about the company's recent appointment, he said: “We are thrilled to be joining the platform as an enthusiastic supporter of farm diversification.

“ABF gives us additional reach to providing farmers access to capital to diversify, sustain, grow and improve their businesses.”

Colin Pearce of Alternative Business Funding added: “Alternative Business Funding are really excited that UKAF has joined our panel, enabling us to extend our range and offer farmers even more specialist funding options, from a lender that is the established expert in this sector.”

Typical loans where UKAF is well placed to assist include:

• Diversification, to build new businesses

• Purchasing land when additional acreage or a unique property opportunity may come available and often at short notice

• Finance to develop, renovate or repair property for capital appreciation and income generation

• Renewable energy projects can be a great source of additional income and add real value to under-utilised land on a farm, or even turn waste products into revenue

• Livestock finance to expand the herd

• Recovery and restructuring funds are needed when financial pressure is acute, and a facility can provide a window to take control and rationally plan

• Enabling tenant farmers with a right to buy their land to secure the property

• Generational transfer that helps farming families looking to transfer their farm to the next generation achieve this