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S&U PLC navigates economic and regulatory challenges, eyes future growth

--News Direct--

S&U PLC chairman Anthony Coombs delved into the company's trading statement for the 12 months ended 31 January 2024 in an interview with Proactive's Stephen Gunnion.

Despite a challenging year due to a number of headwinds facing the sector, the motor and property finance group remained resilient, with improving prospects. Coombs attributed the past year's to the cost of living increase and heightened regulatory activities by the Financial Conduct Authority, aimed at protecting customers under economic pressure.

This regulatory environment created headwinds for S&U, slightly impacting its results. Consequently, pre-tax profits are expected to be 10 to 15% below analysts' consensus. However, Coombs said the flow of new business into both of S&U's sectors—motor and property finance—is robust, with the company facing challenges in collections due to regulatory scrutiny.

S&U's diverse business model, including its Advantage motor finance and Aspen bridging loan business, has helped it navigate pressures. Aspen, in particular, saw cumulative repayments increase by more than 50%, benefiting from high demand in the SME sector for development and refurbishment loans—a demand not fully met by traditional banks. This diversification is expected to aid in the company's recovery, especially as economic conditions improve.

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