April 18, 2007 (LBO) – A small Sri Lankan finance company to which specializes in funding three-wheeled auto-rickshaws is showing high profitability, Fitch Ratings which assigned the firm a BB+ (lka) rating said Wednesday. About 95 percent of the assets of Trade Finance and Investments (TFI) in the 9-months ending December 2006 was in three-wheeler finance.
The firm had shown return on assets of 14.8 percent (10.6 percent in the last financial year) compared to a sector average of 3.5 percent.
Fitch expects the firm’s net interest margin (24.6 percent) to narrow due to competition but say it will remain high because it is heavily equity funded.
“This is on account of a conscious decision by management to fund the business primarily through equity,” Fitch said.
The Outlook on the rating of the 25-year old company was stable.
“TFI’s rating takes into consideration its high capitalisation and good profitability,” Fitch said.
“However, the rating is constrained by TFI’s small asset base, limited product diversity and its narrow funding base.”
The firms three month non performing asset level (Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s monitors a six month level for registered finance companies) was high