Barclays funds Addison Lee drive to take advantage of Olympics

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The Independent Online

Minicab group Addison Lee is gearing up for an expansion in readiness for the Olympics after securing a £12m boost.

The firm, founded by the colourful entrepreneur John Griffin, has just landed a £6m revolving credit facility and £6m asset finance line from Barclays – part of the bank's strategy to show that it is a willing lender to viable businesses.

Although Mr Griffin hasn't been entirely enthusiastic about the Olympics – he wants permission to use bus lanes the same as London's black taxis – he says the firm will be "big players" during the games.

The finance deal comes days after Addison Lee revealed that company turnover for last year rose by a fifth to £127.5m.

Mr Griffin was paid £3.6m for his efforts, the largest payout of £12.6m shared by the top four executives.

The London-based company is hoping to expand outside the M25. It is presently the largest minicab company in London, operating 3,500 premium minicabs across the capital.

Addison Lee says the finance line provided by Barclays will assist the company in expanding its fleet of vehicles through the acquisition of the car service operations of Lewis Day.

Matthew Barbrook, head of finance at Addison Lee, said: "Barclays' in-depth knowledge of the sector and understanding of our financial needs meant we were able to secure a funding package that was right for our business and will assist us in achieving our strategic ambitions."

Jackie Gillan, relationship director within Barclays' transport & logistics team, said: "Our strong relationship with Addison Lee, which spans more than 15 years, ensured we were best placed to understand the company's needs and provide the finance they needed in order to achieve their growth plans."

The taxi sector has seen a number of new entrants in the last year with the growth of social media. Hailo, founded by three London cab drivers, matches up passengers and licensed taxi drivers via a smartphone application. It is backed by one of Spotify's original backers and the investment vehicle of Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom.

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