The asset finance sector made £1.82bn
(€2.26bn) in new business in July, according to the Finance and
Leasing Association (FLA).

The figure represents a 4% rise on the same
period last year, but is down 1% on the £1.84bn volume recorded for

Major areas for the growth year-on-year were
plant and machinery and IT equipment, up 20% and 31% respectively,
while there was no change in the commercial vehicle sector, and car
finance fell by 2%.

Aircraft, ships and rolling stock finance grew
by 142% compared to July 2011, but looked shakier in the long term,
with a 44% decrease over the 12 months to July, compared to the
same period last year.

SMEs accounted for 59% of new business in the
second quarter, excluding high value deals of £20m or more, and 91%
of respondents in the FLA’s confidence survey of senior executives
said they expected an increase in SME funding.

The survey also found that 74% of those
questioned expect a slight increase in business investment and 79%
expect the same in funding availability over the next year.

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Asset finance lenders generally appeared
confident that there would be growth in business across broker,
vendor and direct finance channels.

Geraldine Kilkelly, head of Research and Chief
Economist at the FLA, said: “Asset finance continues to provide an
attractive borrowing solution for businesses looking to make
capital investments, with a growth rate of 10% so far in 2012 for
small and middle ticket deals.”