The launch of its deposit-taking banking operations arm in July was expected to give a shot in the arm to the group and certainly seems to have done that, with underlying profit before tax in the year the end of September up 25% on a pro forma basis from £4.0mln the year before.
Statutory profit before tax was unchanged year-on-year, reflecting the £1.4mln of bank set-up costs.
The lending portfolio grew by 20% during the year to £146mln (2016: £122mln). New business lending increased by 24% to £84.6mln in the year (2016: £68.4mln), driven by PCF's Business Finance Division.
As at the end of September, the business finance portfolio was £73mln, versus £52mln a year earlier; the consumer motor portfolio edged up to £72mln from £70mln the year before, with the group saying it was not prepared to sacrifice margin to compete in a cut-throat market.
PCF noted the car loan market faces possible structural changes, what with diesel engines in the dog-house and the rise of electric and autonomous vehicles.
PCF has plans to restore growth to this division and expects successes in 2018 as it uses its cheaper cost of funds to compete on a level playing field in the prime lending market, though this will requires changes to the group's information technology platform; these changes are expected to go live in the first calendar quarter of 2018.
The launch of the banking arm in July has reduced the cost of funding has increased PCF's ability to access a greater part of the prime lending sector and is expected to provide the driver for accelerated portfolio growth. PCF is targeting organic growth of the portfolio to £350mln within three years.
The group's earnings per share dipped to 1.5p from 1.7p the year before, but the underlying earnings per share rose 21% to 2.3p (2016: 1.9p).
The net asset value per share rose to 18.2p from 15.1p last year.
The group whacked up the final dividend to 0.19p from 0.10p the year before.
PCF said it was currently experiencing “a relatively benign environment for loan defaults”.
“These strong results are underpinned by excellent organic portfolio growth and a record low impairment rate,” said Tim Franklin, chairman of PCF.
“The quality of our portfolio and the operational platform we have built provides the ideal foundation to deliver on a strategy of accelerated growth through expansion within our existing lending markets and asset diversification through acquisition.
"We look to the year ahead with confidence in PCF's ability to deliver profitable and sustainable growth," he added.
Shares in PCF opened 5.7% higher at 32.25p.
Note: The previous accounting period was an 18-month period due to a change in accounting reference date, hence the use of pro forma comparisons