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Enterprise and West One parent sells majority stake to fund growth

by: Heather Greig-Smith
  • 17/11/2016
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Enterprise and West One parent sells majority stake to fund growth
Private equity (PE) firm Exponent is to take a majority stake in Enra Group, parent company of specialist finance broker Enterprise Finance and bridging lender West One Loans.

Enra trades as Enterprise Finance, West One Loans and Aura Finance. It was funded by PE backer Livingbridge in 2014 and the investor retains a small stake.

The group undertakes lending both from its own balance sheet and by placing loans with external investors via its West One platform, in addition to operating a master broker under the Enterprise brand. Its loan book stands at £300m with lending to date exceeding £1bn.

Enra lends and brokers short-term loans as well as distributing specialist second charge and buy-to-let products. Its lending is mainly in the short-term bridging sector but it also provides long-term buy-to-let mortgages and bridging second charge mortgages. Its new ownership will enable further expansion into specialist buy to let and second charge.

Chief executive Danny Waters (pictured) said the business sees this combination of lending and brokerage as crucial. “Our view is that, at different points in the cycle, liquidity becomes more important or distribution becomes more important. The combination of the two is very defensive and protects us against changes.”

He said Exponent will bring an influx of capital to assist with growth in the business, which has expanded to over 100 staff and grown five-fold in three years. “Lending is very capital intensive. Exponent’s involvement gives us more firepower. We are going to make sure that we continue to participate in what we consider to be underserved markets in terms of product availability.”

In addition, David Stewart, former chief executive of Coventry Building Society, will join the board as chairman.

Mark Taylor, partner at Exponent, said: “We believe Enra is uniquely positioned in the specialty finance market, offering its customers both speed and certainty across a range of bespoke residential and commercial mortgage products. We are excited to back Danny Waters and his team to continue the impressive growth the business has experienced to date, as well as supporting Enra to develop new product lines.”

The transaction is subject to FCA approval.


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