GE Capital to back Baird with £17m

GE Capital is today expected to announce it is backing the menswear wholesaler and retailer Baird Group with a £17m financing deal.

The financing, which is to support the company's future expansion plans, is being provided through Baird's BMB Clothing and Worth Valley Menswear subsidiaries.

Baird is owned by Al Arafa Holdings, which is listed on the Cairo stock exchange. The company specialises in the design, manufacture and retail of men's suits, shirts and casual wear.

The group claims 22 per cent of the men's formalwear marketplace and operates several different chains, including Suits You, Alexandre Savile Row, Racing Green and Jeff Banks. It also includes the Young's dress hire business.

Baird's chairman, Peter Lucas, said the financing is central to the company's strategy. "It provides us with the opportunity to consolidate our position as one of Europe's most dynamic and diverse menswear operations," he said.

It also comes at a time when smaller groups are finding it difficult to secure bank funding. Despite government pressure, and banks' claims to the contrary, businesses continue to complain that funding is hard to find on acceptable terms.

Andrew Rhymer, GE Capital regional director, said the company is backing Baird because its "diverse business model" allowed it to emerge from the downturn as "a strong performing business".