Belfast Telegraph

Lender with £50m budget sees appeal in strong Northern Ireland market

Ortus Managing director Jon Salisbury
Ortus Managing director Jon Salisbury
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

A new short-term lender has launched its operations here with a £1m-plus refinancing of a substantial property portfolio in north Belfast.

Ortus Secured Finance, based in London, said it was “filling a gap” for short-term finance for businesses in Northern Ireland, and has around £50m to lend.

Ortus said its first major loan here had been the refinancing of a “substantial residential and commercial portfolio” in north Belfast.

Managing director Jon Salisbury said it had also approved deals for pub finance, property refurbishment, site finance and bridging finance since starting to operate here.

The business was set up in April 2013, and its first product was a short-term loan aimed at pub operators.

The firm typically provides finance of up to 65% loan to value for up to two years. Mr Salisbury said: “Our researched and considered view is that, if you pick the right deals, Northern Ireland is a strong and liquid market which enjoys a solid professional network.”

Mr Salisbury said the short-term lending market in the UK had changed rapidly.

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“The opportunity has been created by changes to the high street lenders which have seen them slow to lend new money and anxious to recover defaulted or expired loans.

“Short term lenders have built businesses by moving quickly to help clients grab opportunities, or acting as a ‘stepping stone’ by helping clients repay their existing high street lender and avoid enforcement and then giving them time to refinance with a new lender.”

Its first deal took place after an introduction by CS Finance, which is managed by Belfast native Chris Stewart.

The two firms have since completed a number of deals between them.

Mr Stewart said Ortus was “a vital stepping stone” for clients wanting to extract themselves from Northern Ireland’s own banks. 

“It’s also very good to have a traditional bridging option for clients who for whatever reasons can’t wait for a high street bank to approve and finance a loan. Ortus is increasingly funding these sort of deals too and can approve and draw down funds very quickly.”

Mr Salisbury said the firm was here “for the long-haul”. “We did a lot of work getting comfortable with this jurisdiction which we’ve backed-up with tangible investment. We have staff over here every couple of weeks.”

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