Major aggregator posts strong growth amid market headwinds

One of Australia’s leading aggregators has delivered “very pleasing” results amid “a number of headwinds” in the market.

In a recent trading update to the ASX, Australian Finance Group (AFG) reported a net profit of $22.6 million, approximately 15.1 per cent ahead of its prospectus forecast of $19.7 million.

The profit represents an increase of 48 per cent from AFG's $15.3 million from continuing operations in 2014-15, which the aggregator said was underpinned by increased sales of the company’s branded products, increased residential and commercial settlements, and improved securitisation margins.

Managing director Brett McKeon emphasised that AFG’s results are “very pleasing considering the number of headwinds in the marketplace over the last 12 months – the negative media about property prices and Chinese investors, and so forth”.

Mr McKeon highlighted that AFG Home Loans contributed a “solid” $6 million in profit before tax in 2015-16, with settlements across all its home loan products up by 9 per cent.

“We’ve had a very good year for settlements based on residential and commercial. We’ve had strong settlement growth year-on-year; in the last five years, settlements have nearly doubled,” he said.

Chief operating officer David Bailey also highlighted that AFG’s results reflect the success of its diversification strategy.

“Results within AFG home loans and commercial are terrific and provide a good platform for future growth in the next 12 to 24 months," he said.

“The securitisation market is showing signs of decreased volatility but it’s important to recognise that we’ll probably see in the nearer term more upside in terms of our white label initiatives as opposed to securitisation growth.”

Looking forward
AFG’s growth strategy will be to protect and grow its residential mortgage book while continuing to invest in technology, Mr Bailey said.

“We have a scalable platform which will continue to drive cash flows and fund ongoing growth."

Mr Bailey also pointed to the company’s strategic alliance with international fintech company Biz2Credit Inc, which AFG signed off on in August this year.

The exclusive agreement will provide access to Biz2Credit’s patented analytics and financial services technology, with a range of options for small business borrowers and faster access to capital.

“We are customising this for the Australian environment and will probably soft launch it in Q2, but it will by fully available by Q3 of FY17,” Mr Bailey said.

[Related: Major aggregator inks deal with global fintech player] 

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Francesca Krakue

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