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jules

No. 7

Jules & Associates

Business: Financing and leasing

Location: Los Angeles

Percentage Growth: 237

Jules & Associates Inc., an asset-based financing and leasing corporation in Los Angeles, is more or less like a bank one that helps companies finance new equipment purchases.

It finances everything from printing presses to computers to construction and manufacturing equipment.

The company generates most of its own business, according to President Jules Buenabenta. In a typical deal, a business will be contacted to see if it needs financing for new equipment. A deal is usually structured so that Jules & Associates buys the items and leases them to the company agreeing to buy them back after a specified period.

Jules & Associates makes its profit from the lease, and then by reselling the equipment, Buenabenta said.

Banks are willing partners, providing the financing for Jules & Associates to buy the equipment.

“We get approached by bankers calling at least once a week who want our business,” Buenabenta said. “We do the marketing (of the loan) and all they do is look at the paperwork.”

Buenabenta attributes his company’s growth to its “expertise in our market. Also, being a smaller firm, we tend to settle for smaller profit margins. Our fixed costs are a lot lower than a GE Capital or Met Life.”

Jules & Associates has been privately held since it began in 1989. “It started as a consulting firm just basically myself and it turned into a company,” Buenabenta said.

The company has 20 employees. Its customers include Motorola, Ogden Corp. and Raleigh Enterprises, which operates the Raleigh Studios sound stages in Hollywood and other businesses.

“We’ve done two or three deals with them,” said Enil Sharma, Raleigh’s chief financial officer. “Jules (Buenabenta) is very creative and able to get the deals done, especially if it’s not a straightforward deal. That’s why we need companies like Jules & Associates. He takes the time to analyze the company and get the true picture.”

To keep up its growth, the company is looking to increase the size of its transactions. It is also doing “a couple deals in China for U.S. corporations and one in Russia,” Buenabenta said.

Stephenie Overman

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