Heartland dismisses media speculation it is in running to buy F&P Finance

The lender said it is not participating in any process to acquire the F&P finance group of companies.

Heartland New Zealand [NZX: HNZ], the bank formed through the merger of Canterbury and Southern Cross building societies with Marac Finance, has dismissed media speculation that it is in the running to buy Fisher & Paykel Finance.

The Christchurch-based lender said it is not participating in any process to acquire the F&P finance group of companies. In May, Fisher & Paykel Appliance Holdings, the Auckland-based manufacturer and consumer credit company owned by China's Haier Group, said it appointed First NZ Capital for the possible sale of the finance operations after being approached by potential buyers.

A report in the Australian Financial Review last month named Heartland as a potential buyer for the finance business, which includes the Q Card and the Farmers Finance Card.

Heartland is targeting expansion through niche markets, particularly in the consumer finance sector. Last year it bought a reverse mortgage business from Seniors Money and it has also taken a 10% stake in peer-to-peer lender Harmoney Corp for $3.5 million to accelerate growth. The lender estimates its stake in Harmoney is now worth $5 million. Some $17 million has been lent through the online platform.

Heartland reiterated that it expects profit for the year ending June 30 to be at the upper end of its forecast range of $46-48 million, compared to profit of $36 million in the 2014 year.

Heartland's shares rose 0.9% to $1.19 and have gained 34% over the past year.

(BusinessDesk)