by david.nunes


· Southern Communications secures £4.75m funding to boost its growth

· Up to 50 new jobs created over the next year

· Funding includes £1m Growth Capital Investment, backed by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund

Hampshire-based business telecommunications provider, Southern Communications, is set to increase its staff headcount by 50 per cent, after securing a £4.75 million finance package from Santander Corporate & Commercial’s Breakthrough programme.

The company, headed by CEO Paul Bradford, plans to use the Growth Capital investment to accelerate the expansion of its sales force and to recruit 50 telesales and field sales people over the next year, taking the number of staff to more than 160 and strengthening the company’s national presence.

Southern Communications was established in 1965 and is now one of the leading independent B2B telecoms service providers to SMEs in the UK. Services provided include the provision of fixed line rentals and calls, mobile phone and data connectivity solutions and the sale, installation and maintenance of telephone systems. The business has grown steadily since 2002 with expected turnover this year of £18 million and has twice been listed in the Sunday Times Tech Track, which lists the 100 fastest growing technology companies in the UK.

The funding from Santander includes £1 million of growth capital finance from Santander’s Breakthrough programme, which is backed by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund. The Growth Capital investment provides mezzanine-based finance at a low rate which helps bridge the gap between angel and equity investment, helping to fill the recognised investment funding gap for UK companies.

Paul Bradford, CEO of Southern Communications, said: We are very excited about the next stage of our development which will see the extension of our national presence using our proven organic growth model as well completing further strategic acquisitions.

Paul continued: “The telecoms industry is extremely price competitive, but we are continuing to take significant market share with a high level of repeat business and one of the highest client retention rates in the industry.

“Santander’s Breakthrough programme offers a genuine alternative to the kind of finance that is traditionally available to businesses of our size. In general, investors want to have a piece of your business, or they’re only interested in new businesses. I genuinely cannot speak highly enough of the team at Santander and I can truly say that dealing with them has been a breath of fresh air.”

Darren Hart, Head of Growth Capital at Santander UK, said:We created the Breakthrough programme so that we could support small businesses and help them grow and achieve their aims. We are therefore delighted to have been able to support Southern Communications with their growth ambitions. At Santander, we believe that by helping small business owners reach their full growth potential, we can help them create more jobs and ultimately, help drive forward economic growth.”

The Growth Capital loan is part of Santander’s Breakthrough programme which aims to support fast-growth small businesses to help them accelerate their growth potential. As well as funding, Breakthrough offers companies access to trade missions, business masterclasses, networking events and support in areas such as finance and marketing.

Breakthrough also provided Paul Bradford with the opportunity to attend a recent Masterclass hosted by McLaren. The delegates heard from senior McLaren staff, including Sam Michael, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes’ Sporting Director, and received practical advice on diversification and learned how they can explore additional revenue and growth possibilities.

About Us

The Breakthrough programme is aimed at businesses with a turnover of up to £25 million per annum with demonstrated growth of 20% or more in turnover, profit or employment. Breakthrough aims to help these businesses fulfil their growth potential to create jobs and stimulate supply-chain demand and a private sector led recovery via a programme of both capital and support. Breakthrough is part of Santander Corporate & Commercial.

Santander Corporate & Commercial provides dedicated relationship banking support to businesses with a turnover of more than £250,000 through the bank’s 35 regional corporate business centres located across the UK. It is part of Santander UK plc, a full-service retail and commercial bank providing services to 25 million customers, with almost 1,200 branches.  It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Banco Santander, managed autonomously, with its own local management team. Santander UK is firmly focused on the UK with c. 99% of customer assets UK-related. The total balance sheet remains UK focused, with a minimal net exposure after collateral to eurozone periphery countries only amounting to c. 0.4% of total assets.

Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.

Banco Santander (SAN.MC, STD.N, BNC.LN) is a retail and commercial bank, based in Spain, with a presence in 10 main markets. Santander is the largest bank in the euro zone by market capitalization. Founded in 1857, Santander had EUR 1.388 trillion in managed funds, 102 million customers, 14,392 branches – more than any other international bank – and 187,000 employees at the close of 2012. It is the largest financial group in Spain and Latin America. It also has significant positions in the United Kingdom, Portugal, Germany, Poland and the northeast United States. Santander had a pre-provision profit of EUR 23.559 billion in 2012, an increase of 2% from the previous year.

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