Outlook Cut

Dec 04, 2008 (LBO) – Fitch Ratings has cut the outlook of Sri Lanka’s The Finance Company (TFC) from ‘stable’ to ‘negative’ but confirmed its investment grade ‘BBB(lka)’ long term national rating. As a result, TFC’s portfolio growth was just 9 percent in the 2008 financial year from 33 percent the year before while cash collection ratios improved to approximately 100 percent by September 2008 from 85 percent at April 2008.

TFC’s portfolio was mainly vehicle financing. Leasing was 55 percent and hire purchase agreements 35 percent, respectively, at the end of the 2008 financial year. Personal loans accounted for 10 percent.

Real estate investments for sale and rent accounted for 18 percent of assets at the end of the 2008 financial year.

“Consequent to lower loan growth and lower yields in overall real estate investments and land sales, profitability was significantly affected by the rising cost of funds and increased credit costs (provisions),” Fitch said.

Return on assets (ROA) had declined to 1.9 percent at FY08 (and 0.4 percent in the first half of the 2009 financial year) from 2.7 percent in 2007.

While yields in hire purchase and leasing have increased, overa