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Celestia to use Caple loan for UK satellite ground station

Posted 7 April 2020 · Add Comment

Alternative SME credit specialist Caple has helped space tech company Celestia Technologies Group (Celestia), to access a £3.5m (€4m) eight-year unsecured cross border loan for acquisition and growth, allowing Celestia’s Oxford based British company, to use £2.6m (€3m) to support the development of a new satellite ground station in the UK for a European Space Agency (ESA) project.

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The firm will also use the loan to realise its UK growth ambitions. 

The firm’s Netherland-based company will use the second loan of €1m (£880k) to partly finance the acquisition of the satellite ground systems division of Antwerp Space Systems in Belgium. The acquisition of this division will expand Celestia’s existing expertise in ground satellite systems and expand its international presence.   

Technology-based businesses with few physical assets and which trade internationally, such as Celestia, can find access to secured lending a challenge.  Banks generally need tangible assets to put up as security for loans, so raising additional finance for an acquisition was not open to them.

Another challenge for Celestia in raising finance is that it is an international consortium of SMEs.  As such, it required a complex and sophisticated finance structure.  High-street banks are not able to put these in place for such SMEs due to the complexity of the work involved compared with the size of the loan.

Dominic Buch, co-founder and managing partner of Caple, said: “Celestia is an ambitious and growing international high-tech business.  As a collection of SMEs based across Europe, the group needed a sophisticated cross-border loan to help it support UK growth and acquire a Belgium operation.

“Working closely with KPMG Debt Advisory, we have now twice helped the firm access long-term fully unsecured loans that are not ordinarily available to SMEs. Our unsecured lending deals demonstrate how we can support successful SMEs with finance to support growth across borders despite Brexit.”

Jose Alonso, founder of the Celestia Technologies Group, said: “We are very grateful to Caple for the trust placed in us.  It takes guts to stick your neck out where traditional parties fail to do so. With this financing and loan, we look to the future with confidence."

Celestia is a high tech, fast-growing and ambitious multinational group of independent SMEs. Headquartered in Holland, the group has a UK business in Oxford. The group, which turns over around €32m (£28m) a year, delivers technology products, systems and services for the aerospace, defence, telecoms and scientific markets. 

In February, Celestia won a €2.8m (£2.5m) grant from Scottish Enterprise, Scotland’s economic development agency, to develop a centre of excellence in scanning antenna in Edinburgh. The grant enables Celestia to create 18 jobs in Scotland and continue its growth in the UK and the Scottish space sector.

Caple, based in the UK and Holland, is the UK’s first firm to offer access to long-term purely unsecured lending of up to £5m based on the future cash flows of the SME. It requires no collateral or personal guarantees as security. The loans also work alongside existing secured lending, meaning firms can have access to more funding than they would get from their bank alone.  It also allows them to maintain their existing financial relationship.

Caple’s technology platform supports a network of accountants and financial advisors to SMEs who identify suitable borrowers and prepare the loan application materials. This enables an efficient and robust credit process.  KPMG Debt Advisory advised Celestia.

The loans Caple facilitates are part of BNP Paribas Asset Management’s SME Alternative Financing direct lending platform, which enables SMEs to access funding from institutional investors. BNP Paribas Asset Management aims to provide €1bn per year in funding to SMEs across Europe.


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