NSF has issued a trading update highlighting a 4%-5% reduction in consensus estimates due to softer trading in 3Q (primarily lower loan volumes in guarantor loans, a market which has been affected by adverse press coverage) and a 6%-8% reduction associated with a step change in provisioning policy. The latter highlights yet again the importance of understanding the assumptions in provisioning. For the same arrears, a higher assumed probability of downside has increased provisions. This reflects the known cyclicality inherent in IFRS9. A downgrade is unwelcome, but it does not reflect current customer deterioration, only the Board’s cautious approach. After today’s reduction’s, we still forecast 2021 adjusted profits at 2x the level of 2018.
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