10th February 2017
("S&U", "the Company" or "the Group")
YEAR END TRADING UPDATE
S&U plc, the motor finance and specialist lender, today issues a trading update for the period from its Trading Statement of the 8th December 2016 to the Company's year-end on the 31st January 2017.
The Company is again pleased to announce that trading has remained strong and in line with market expectations; its final results will be announced on 28th March 2017.
Advantage Finance, our motor finance business, finished a record year very strongly. Cash collections in the period exceeded a buoyant 2016 by 31%, whilst both transaction numbers and loan advances comfortably beat last year. This year Advantage achieved 20,000 new transactions for the first time, beating the previous record by nearly 5,000 deals; it now has a record 43,000 live customers.
Loan quality remains good and, as reported in our last Trading Statement, is both stable and within our expectations. This fully justifies the additional £33million invested in the business in the year just ended.
Within the last quarter, Advantage has received confirmation of its full licence authorisation from the FCA and has continued to introduce further refinements to its renowned underwriting and book analysis capabilities.
As anticipated in December, our Aspen bridging finance operation has now received all necessary approvals, and we are pleased to announce it has now opened for business. We confidently expect a successful pilot over the next fifteen months.
Funding and Treasury
At the year end the Group has borrowings of £49m allowing good headroom within our total committed facilities of £85m. We anticipate concluding further loan facilities as our businesses require.
The Group's current trading and future prospects have led to your Board approving a second interim dividend of 28p per ordinary share (2016: 23p). This will be payable on 17th March 2017 to holders on the share register on the 24th February 2017. Together with the first dividend paid in November of 24p per share this will total 52p per share against 43p last year and 36p two years ago. These increases are consistent with our aim of returning to twice covered dividends over time.
Commenting on the Group trading and outlook, Anthony Coombs, Chairman of S&U PLC said:
"Within a robust domestic economy, a stable regulatory environment and a competitive market, we are confident in the Group's ability to continue to grow at a consistent and sustainable rate, and in the shareholder value that implies."
For further information, please contact:
S&U plc www.suplc.co.uk
Anthony Coombs, Chairman 0121 705 7777
Broker & Financial Advisor
Chris Hardie Arden Partners 0207 614 5917
Media and Investor Relations
Ged Brumby Smithfield 0207 903 0674