Pandemic hits profits at listed lender

International Personal Finance (IPF) says COVID-19 has made a significant impact on its business, both operationally and financially.

Issuing its full-year financial report for the period ended 31 December 2020, the Leeds-based company, which provides unsecured consumer credit to customers, records a pre-exceptional loss before tax of £28.8m (statutory loss before tax of £40.7m)This compares with a 2019 profit of £114m.

Over the same period revenue dropped 22% from £889.1m in 2019 to 661.3m in 2020. And credit issued fell from £1.3bn in 2019 to £772.2m in 2020.

The company made cost savings of £58.3m, delivered as a result of tight cost control and a “rightsizing strategy”.

IPF says it managed a resilient half two trading performance, following “decisive actions” to tackle COVID-19 related challenges.

It adds a return to growth plan is being implemented to bring the business back to full-year profitability and to deliver long-term, sustainable growth.

The Group has bond and bank facilities totalling £624m to support future growth, with headroom on undrawn facilities and non-operational cash balances of £210m.

Gerard Ryan, chief executive officer at IPF, said: “We have managed the business effectively through this turbulent period and proven the resilience of our international business model.  

“We responded quickly to the pandemic, taking the strategic decision to establish three principles to guide our decision-making – to protect our people, prioritise our loyal customers and protect our business.

“This approach, together with the implementation of our return to growth plan and the exceptional dedication of our workforce, allowed us to continue serving our customers safely, deliver an improving operational performance and return the business to profitability in the second half of the year. 

“Our business plays a key role in society and we are well-placed to remain at the forefront of lending responsibly to underbanked and underserved consumers and, in turn, deliver long-term growth and value to all our stakeholders.”