The beleaguered The Finance Company PLC (TFC) is optimistic about its future prospects as the company looks to make full use of its extensive island-wide presence and large land bank to fuel growth while fighting ghosts from the past and present.
"The Finance Company is on its journey towards greater and sustainable success. We possess in our arsenal an unparalleled network of branches located at the most strategic points spanning the length and breadth of our country. We also possess a very rich and diverse real estate portfolio together with commercial properties, the value of which will only increase given the current stability the country is experiencing. The land bank that is spread across the country and the branch network owned by our company, adds the impetus for further growth and of course excitement in our journey towards achieving greater heights," TFC Chairman Preethi Jayawardena told shareholders in the company’s latest annual report recently uploaded on to the Colombo Stock Exchange website.
TFC continues to struggle with its legacy of being part of the Ceylinco Group and the more recent fiasco involving the sale of shares at an inflated price to the National Savings Bank in a deal which was annulled by the country’s executive.
"The only drawback the company has witnessed during the past year is the negative net-worth which resulted from the heavy losses the company incurred in the past after the Golden Key debacle. This was however resurrected to a certain extent through a new capital infusion of Rs. 1.6 billion and a deposit conversion of Rs. 2 billion which took place in January 2011 and all of us were committed in ensuring a complete and sustainable financial growth. We are now looking at a further infusion of capital for the company to reach its full potential and we are doing everything possible in order to achieve these goals we have set for the future," Jayawardena said.
"We also recently witnessed a highly publicized issue revolving around the share transaction between the National Savings Bank and The Finance Company. Needless to say, the negative publicity that was generated due to the transaction stifled the gradual growth we were witnessing to a certain extent with public perception turned against us. However, the trust and confidence that was placed in us throughout the entirety of our existence by our clientele and the Lankan public at large still continues to stay strong," he said.
All major products of the Company have shown Y-O-Y increases in inflows, the loan disbursements in vehicle related products has improved by 123% and the pawning new investment by 237% in 2011/2012 compared to the previous year. Pawning has also shown 100% growth in market share amongst the RFC’s. Nine new Pawning centres were opened during the financial year 2011/12, increasing the number of pawning centres to thirty nine.
The growth in the new intake of fixed deposits was 170% in the year 2011/2012 and the savings deposit intake of the company increased by 54% compared to the last financial year which is a clear indication of the public confidence that has been built up over the past two years, the TFC annual report said.
"On the Real Estate area of business the company is still the market leader and has had the privilege of being positively contributing the country’s land ownership. We have achieved over 350% growth in real estate stock movement during 2011/12 over the previous year. Taking these factors into consideration we have built the market strategy for real estate and established a product positioning that would also enhance the corporate brand image. TFC was ranked 37 among the top 100 brands in Sri Lanka in the 2011 by Brand Finance PLC – UK," TFC CEO Kamal Yatawara said.
TFC reported a loss of Rs. 353.4 million for the financial year 2011/12, a huge improvement considering the Rs. 3.8 billion loss sustained the previous year.
In its interim financial results for the June 2012 quarter, TFC sustained a huge Rs. 393.9 million loss, compared with Rs. 26.3 million profit a year earlier. Public deposits grew to Rs. 21.2 billion from Rs. 20.8 billion a year earlier.
As at June 30, 2012, the Employees’ Provident Fund managed by the Central Bank was fourth largest shareholder of TFC with an 8.43 percent stake.