Non-Standard Finance plc
('NSF', the 'Company' or the 'Group')
26 March 2020
Whilst it is too early to determine the full impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on each of the Group's divisions, it is clear that it has had a sudden and severe impact on the UK economy. Our immediate priority has been to safeguard the health and safety of our customers, our staff and self-employed agents. In developing our plans to do so, we have also sought to mitigate, as far as possible, the impact on our operational and financial performance and to avoid putting our business at risk. The steps we have taken, whilst difficult in the short-term, will help to ensure that the Group is well-positioned to take full advantage of a recovery in business volumes, as soon as the prevailing conditions allow.
We have reduced significantly our lending volumes across all three of our divisions. We are however continuing to offer credit, subject to our detailed assessment of affordability, where there is an urgent need and/or where our detailed knowledge of an existing customer provides us with the requisite comfort that we are happy to lend. We are also putting in place arrangements so that we are able to offer credit to eligible 'key workers' during this challenging period.
This reduction in overall lending volume will mean we can shift resources to managing collections and ensure that due forbearance is offered to any of our customers that may find themselves in financial difficulty during this difficult time.
All collections in branch-based lending and guarantor loans are already remote and our staff are continuing to service our customers over the phone and online. In home credit, while our agents are no longer calling at customers' homes, they have been encouraging customers to make use of a variety of remote collections options that are now available both online and over the phone so that we can continue to make collections as planned.
Whilst it is hoped that these measures will be in place for a temporary period only and that the Group can soon return to normal business practices, the timing of any such return remains unclear and will depend, among other things, on prevailing Government advice and the circumstances at the time.
Full year results
The Group's 2019 full year results will be announced on 28 April 2020. The Group continues to expect normalised results for the year ended 31 December 2019 to be in line with expectations.
Outlook and final dividend
Each of the Group's three divisions are trading in an unprecedented business environment. The full impact of COVID-19 on the Group's future financial performance will be heavily influenced by a number of factors including the severity and duration of the pandemic as well as the way in which both Government and consumers respond. As a result, we are withdrawing all previous guidance and medium-term targets until further notice.
The Board is focused on conserving cash within the Group given the pandemic and the uncertain macroeconomic outlook and has determined that it will not recommend or pay a final dividend in respect of the year ended 31 December 2019. The Board believes that by prioritising cash conservation, when circumstances allow, we will be better placed to return to our normal lending and collections practices as quickly as possible.
This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of article 7 of Regulation 596/2014 ('MAR'). The person responsible for arranging the release of this announcement on behalf of NSF is Peter Reynolds, Director of IR and Communications.
For more information:
Non-Standard Finance plc
Peter Reynolds, Director, IR and Communications
+44 (0) 20 3869 9020
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