PCF sees loan forbearance improve but remains cautious on outlook

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PCF Group Plc (LON:PCF) said it would use the disruption from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to undertake a strategic review of its business to reset objectives and targets.

The specialist bank added that it has seen a recovery in loan repayments in recent months but is still being cautious over guidance given the uncertain backdrop.

Loans in forbearance totalled £23mln at the end of November 2020 compared to £139mln at the peak of the first lockdown but results for the year-end September 2020 were still affected by higher impairments.

Underlying profits dropped to £3.9min (2019: £8mln) after PCF took a £7.8mln (2019:£2.2mln) debt provision, though it added the level of absolute write-offs remains low.

PCF’s loan book was £434mln at the end of the year, or up by around 26% on twelve months earlier, though new lending had slowed due to the pandemic it said.

Demand in business asset finance and at broadcast and media arm Azule was especially affected, PCF said, though motor finance bounced back after lockdown and property bridging finance was strong.

Statutory profit before tax was £2.1mln (2019:£8mln).

Scott Maybury, PCF’s chief executive, said he expects lending across each of the business lines will recover at different rates, but it can all grow strongly again. 

“The objective is to emerge from this period of disruption in the best possible financial position and to take advantage of the opportunities that may present themselves in the form of fewer market participants, further portfolio diversification and sector consolidation,” he added in the results statement.

There was no dividend and PCF said it will review this situation at the time of the next interim results.

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