UK asset finance company Shire Leasing has received £80m from the British Business Bank (BBB) and from the private sector.

£40m of the investment is being provided by the BBB, which has been matched by £40m worth of private sector funding.

Shire Leasing operates in a number of sectors, including telephone equipment, IT and catering, and its average lease is £6000, with an agreement term of 48 months.

The BBB said the money will enable Shire to double the level of finance it can provide.

Business secretary Vince Cable said: "The market is heavily dominated by the big high street banks so competition is limited and innovation is slow, but by making these investments we can start to engineer long-term structural changes that benefit both businesses and the market."

Mark Picken, chief executive officer of Shire Leasing said: "We are delighted with this new partnership with the British Business Bank. We see a real opportunity to expand into a market that the banks have pulled back from. Ours is an exciting and innovative product which will help thousands of small firms make investments and take advantage of the new growth in the economy."

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Commenting on the BBBs investment, Simon Goldie, head of Asset Finance at the Finance and Leasing Association said "This is great news for the industry and underlines the importance of asset finance to the UK economy, especially for those businesses which need investment to grow."

In June Shire Leasing partnered with Toshiba to launch a laptop financing service aimed at small and medium sized businesses.