City briefs: STB, Hill & Smith

Secure Trust Bank

Specialist lender the Secure Trust Bank (STB) says its expecting a significant improvement in profitability during the second half of the year, after laying foundations for a “strong 2023”.

The Solihull firm has seen an 8.2% increase in its lending balances to £3.2bn (2022: £2.9bn) but has been adversely impacted by a long-running problem debt case within its Commercial Finance business. It’s reported its profit before tax at £16.5m, which is impaired by the £7.2m case.

STB has been listed as an official UK Best Workplace™ for the fourth year running, ranking 12th out of 87 companies (large organisations category), an improvement from 2022 (ranked 29th out of 67).

David McCreadie, Chief Executive, said: “Our specialist lending businesses have significant growth potential in large addressable markets. We have grown our lending balances by 45% since the start of 2021 and are optimising for growth by being simpler, enhancing our customer experience and leveraging our distribution networks.

“We have laid strong foundations for the rest of the year and are on track to meet our target cost optimisation savings. I am pleased with our positive operational performance and we continue to help our customers and business partners during these challenging times.

“We have demonstrated our ability to grow and are well placed to realise our ambitions. We have a clear focus and strengthened capital position, and will scale the Group further to deliver our return on average equity (‘ROAE’) target. We remain confident about the future.”

Hill & Smith, the transport infrastructure group says it expects its full-year operating profit to be “modestly ahead” of current market consensus.

Group revenue is up by 9% to £420.8m, and operating profit boosted by 20% to £62.5m.

The acquistive transport giant completed its purchases of Texas’ composite solutions manufacturer Enduro and Pennsylvania galvanising firm Korns Galvanizing in the first half of the year for a total of £38.5m.

The acquisitions as well as National Signal has increased revenue by £41m and operating profit by £8m.

Alan Giddins, Executive Chair, said: “Hill & Smith has delivered a record first half performance, reflecting the strong performance of our US businesses and the resilient performance of those in the UK. This strong trading has been evidenced across the Group, in particular through a standout performance in our Engineered Solutions division as well as a strong contribution from recently acquired businesses. The record results are testament to the benefits of our autonomous operating model. I would also like to thank all of our employees for their considerable commitment and contribution.

“The full year outlook is now expected to be modestly ahead of market expectations. The geographic mix of the portfolio has also evolved and there is now a heavier weighting towards faster growing US end markets, which accounted for 73% of Group profits. Longer term, we remain confident about our prospects given our structural end market growth drivers, the quality of our operating businesses and strong balance sheet, all of which will allow us to accelerate our growth further.”

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