Pepper announces first profit result since float

Pepper Group has announced its first profit result since listing on the ASX on 31 July.

The specialist lender yesterday posted a statutory net profit after tax (NPAT) of $3.8 million for the six months to 30 June. Adjusted NPAT was $16.7 million and in line with the group’s expectations.

Pepper reported pro forma total income of $132.6 million and statutory income of $225.3 million.

The group reported strong organic growth in Australian residential mortgages, driven by continuing expansion of its broker, white-label and direct-to-consumer distribution channels.

“Australian residential lending volumes are slightly ahead of expectation on a year-to-date basis,” Pepper Co-Group chief executive Patrick Tuttle said.

“Underpinning this growth is our increasing penetration of national broker networks, further white-label partnerships and the continuing emergence of our direct-to-consumer channel.

“Due to ongoing promotion and investment, we anticipate a higher proportion of direct business going forward, further strengthening our mortgage distribution footprint,” he said.

The group recorded higher origination volumes for the second half of the year in its South Korean mortgage and personal loan businesses. Meanwhile, Pepper’s Spain-based point-of-sale finance and personal loan business, together with its asset finance portfolio, saw continued growth in the six months to 30 June.

Pepper Co-Group CEO Mike Culhane said the results were a reflection of the stable, diversified platform management has built to facilitate growth both locally and abroad.

“Pepper’s half-year result is slightly ahead of expectations and in line with our forecasts for the calendar year 2015,” Mr Culhane said.

“The business continues to grow strongly across its core business lines including residential mortgages, consumer lending and loan servicing.

“Management has confidence in the continued strong performance of the business into the second half and beyond. Recurring revenue streams on our existing lending and servicing portfolios give us confidence in our earnings visibility going forward.”

During the first half of the 2015 financial year Pepper on-boarded a series of new servicing contracts in Ireland, Spain and the UK, some of which had originally been awarded late last year. This has resulted in a substantial increase in servicing assets under management (AUM) from 2014 to the first half of 2015.

Pepper Ireland was awarded a contract after 30 June to provide third-party asset servicing on a $5.6 billion loan portfolio recently acquired by CarVal Investors and Goldman Sachs affiliated entities from Lloyds Banking Group. The portfolio comprises a mix of residential, commercial and unsecured loans.

Pepper noted that the contract will be earnings accretive from 2016.

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