Geneva Finance lifts first-half profit 56% on increased lending, insurance

Geneva Finance, which paid a maiden dividend earlier this year, lifted first-half profit 56% on credit growth in its lending business and higher premium income from its insurance business.

Net profit rose to $2.4 million, or 3.35c per share, in the six months ended September 30 from $1.5 million, or 2.18c, a year earlier, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. Net interest income climbed 49% to $3.8 million on a 13% increase in lending growth, while insurance premium revenue more than doubled to $1.2 million with claims rising to $308,000 from $98,000 a year earlier.

"Delivering a $2.4 million profit for the six months is satisfying but there remains much to do," the company said. "With the core business now established, the key focus is on the use of technology to improve customer service levels and support the expansion of the group's lending and insurance and collections services."

The finance company was one of the few to survive its moratorium, repaying $169 million, including $42 million of interest, as it slashed staff numbers and closed operations. It has generated a profit in the past two financial years and undertook a seven-for-one share consolidation earlier this year in an effort to lift the share price, which last traded on the NZAX at 46c.

Managing director David O'Connell said the firm was still looking for the "right acquisition opportunity" due to its conservative levels of debt. The firm had drawn $44.5 million from its term facilities at the balance date, with $4.9 million owed to professional investors, including two directors.