BGF – the UK and Ireland’s most active growth capital investor – has reported record-breaking results for 2020.  

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, BGF backed 61 companies in 2020, investing a total of £384 million during the year.  

This represented an 11% increase on the previous year, and in the first quarter of 2021 an increase of over 100% on the same quarter in 2020.  

In total for 2020, £262 million went into new companies across a range of sectors, including life sciences, eCommerce and IT services, while a further £122 million of follow-on funding was deployed to existing portfolio businesses.  

2020 was also an equally good year for exits with BGF delivering 28 exits that generated returns of £228 million. 

BGF demonstrated a robust and resilient performance with a substantial increase in net assets to £2.3 billion (2019: £1.8 billion). The group made a year-end operating profit of £346 million, reflecting ongoing growth in its underlying portfolio and realisations. 

Stephen Welton, executive chairman, said: “We’ve gone through what we hope will be a once in- a-generation event, and learned that with determination, focus and the right allocation of capital, we can achieve amazing things.  

BGF’s excellent performance during the pandemic demonstrates the strength of our diversified model, our strong regional approach and the resilience of the entrepreneurs we exist to support.  

We’re proud that our model stood up under pressure, allowing us to continue investing at an average pace of one new investment a week, despite the upheaval of lockdowns and other challenges.  

No other equity investor in the land can match that rate of activity. We have a unique investment platform and capability that we want to continue to leverage in full as the economy both recovers and powers ahead in key sectors.” 

Andy Gregory, chief investment officer, said: “Because we take a long-term approach to investing, we were able to see past the short-term challenges affecting some of the sectors most impacted by COVID-19, which enabled BGF to continue to deploy capital at a time when it was most needed.  

All in all, our investment model has proved remarkably effective during the pandemic. I’m confident that our key metrics will only increase in the year ahead.”