Hitachi Capital UK is to extend its reach in the franchising industry with the acquisition of specialist financial services provider Franchise Finance.

The transaction is intended to bolster Hitachi Capital UK’s lending base to SMEs, bring in senior consultancy experience to the Group, and establish a profitable portfolio within the market.

Franchise Finance runs the SME-focused Business Training Academy, which offers workshops focusing on a variety of key business areas. The business itself operates UK-wide with more than 140 franchisors and their franchisees, with a focus on the hotel, leisure, business services, personal services, and transport sectors.

The acquisition marks a major move into the franchise industry for Hitachi Capital UK. The franchise market has experienced growth of almost 50% to £15bn in the last ten years.

Robert Gordon, chief executive officer of Hitachi Capital UK, said: “Hitachi Capital UK has delivered significant organic growth for almost a decade by ensuring we provide current and prospective customers with relevant products and services across our business units.

“Franchise Finance is a natural fit for Hitachi Capital UK.  With a strong market share and a well-established business training offering, the deal provides a real opportunity to enhance our offering to both existing and new customers.”

Stuart Walsh, the managing director of Franchise Finance, said:

“Hitachi Capital UK is a highly respected company, with which we share a common culture of integrity and dedication to excellent customer service. This deal will enable Franchise Finance to grow the reach and value of the fantastic expertise we have in the franchise market, providing Hitachi Capital UK’s current and prospective customers with specialist knowledge and funding that could prove crucial to their business or franchise success.”

Hitachi Capital UK was the first asset finance lender accredited under the British Business Bank’s Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) programme.