A Liverpool firm has installed ventilation systems on three floors of London’s iconic Shard for the world’s largest private health provider, thanks to a financial package with an invoice finance specialist.
URICA provides funds against invoices but differs from conventional factoring by, instead, paying cash to the supplier, up front.
It has enabled AG Vent to fit the ventilation for London Bridge Hospital’s new outpatient centre, operated by Hospital Corporation of America. It comprises 100 consulting rooms, a state-of-the-art diagnostics centre and a 24-hour walk-in surgery.
Allan Gannon set up AG Vent after 15 years in the industry and his team now install systems throughout the UK for commercial premises, hospitals, schools, and private companies. He said: “I had seen what other companies were doing and felt we could massively improve on this.”
He was able to take on the contract with the help of URICA, which has a Liverpool operation and provides a no-risk, no-debt way of alleviating the problem of cash flow.
Its global network provides advance payments between businesses and their contractors, taking on all the risk of late- or non-payment on any given contract for a fee in most cases between 1% and 2% of the invoice value.
“Finance can be a problem when you have clients that delay payment for whatever reason; you end up having to find money from other projects to pay your suppliers while you’re waiting for your invoices to come through, hindering the ability of small contractors to take on larger projects,” said Mr Gannon.
It is estimated that £39bn is tied up in late payments in the UK alone, stunting the growth of small firms.
“We looked for various options to allow our invoices to be paid earlier which, in turn, would help the business to grow,” he added.
“URICA were offering to finance all of our invoices without any risk, any personal guarantees or debentures, and because they do all the due diligence for you, it was pretty much a risk-free proposal that, for a very small percentage, they could set this up straight away. This sounded like the perfect finance opportunity we had been waiting for.”
URICA, whose platform is underpinned by credit insurance firm Euler Hermes, then checked the credit worthiness of Mr Gannon’s clients to bring them onto the platform: “Five were successful and these companies are now set up and we are receiving our invoice payments quicker than ever. We now have 13 clients on board.”
Using URICA, money that was originally held up in invoices has been released for AG Vent, enabling the company to purchase new machinery and new premises.
More free-flowing cash, Mr Gannon added, has allowed him to ensure quality control, particularly on large projects such as the Shard.
AG Vent has also been awarded a grant of £20,000 for helping to create local jobs within the industry: “We’re creating two skilled roles and two apprenticeships, so it’s exciting times,” Mr Gannon said.