S & U PLC - TRADING UPDATE AND NOTICE OF RESULTS
("S&U" or "the Group")
TRADING UPDATE AND NOTICE OF RESULTS
It is barely two months since our AGM Trading Update in June and our business continues its steady recovery from the economic shocks initially caused by Covid-19, and the Government's measures to combat it. As we adjust to a gradual but uneven easing of the Lockdown, and trading volumes return nearer normal, we still feel it wise at present not to issue forward guidance. In changing times, it is wise to recall
Although these trends will inevitably have a significant impact on S&U's results this year, the Company is still profitable, paying dividends and our financial strength, experience, excellent broker partnerships and flexible and committed staff should ensure a return to a more "normal" trading environment by the end of the year.
As more car sales outlets recently returned to business, so sales at Advantage Finance ('Advantage') have recovered from around 40% of normal to nearly 80%. Loan applications are at a record high but our policy of early tightened under-writing, and a focus on customer quality has seen current transaction levels 25% less than last year. This has produced improved early repayments, indicative of the high quality of the new customers taken on since Covid began. In the medium term this may offer the kind of significant market opportunities in the near prime field from which Advantage benefitted following the banking crisis of a decade ago.
Although collection levels this year have fallen from their usual 94% of due to just over 75%, this has entirely been brought about by the
In the meantime, Advantage has continued to minutely analyse customers by income, expenditure type, headroom and previous credit history, so that we can anticipate, focus on and assist those who may struggle to return to contractual terms.
Although activity in the housing market over the past two months has been similarly restrained by the febrile
Group borrowings are
Commenting on the Group's trading and outlook,
"First and foremost, I take this opportunity to record our thanks to, and admiration for, the spirit, flexibility and sheer determination of our staff to maintain our standards of customer service during unprecedented and trying times. Although recent trading trends have been encouraging, the level of uncertainty surrounding the economy, the direction of Covid-19 and the effect that it has on customers' confidence make prudence paramount.
"What we can say for certain, is that S&U continues to make profits and has the experience, the financial resources, skilled people and tried and tested business philosophy needed to weather any further economic storms - and the ambition to grow strongly again when it is sensible to do so."
For further information, please contact:
Anthony Coombs, Chairman 0121 705 7777
Bob Huxford, Tom Carnegie, Megan Kovach 020 7653 9848
Adrian Trimmings, Andrew Buchanan, Rishi Shah 020 7418 8900
This information is provided by RNS, the news service of the
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