Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Access grows loan portfolio

Published:Friday | February 5, 2016 | 2:00 AMSteven Jackson

Access Financial grew its loans and maintained costs which led the microlender to post net profits of $435 million for the period ending December 2015 or 42 per cent higher year-on-year.

Its return on average equity (ROE) jumped to 46 per cent from 38 per cent in the previous year, which makes it one of the most profitable companies in the island. Comparatively, banks which hold the largest loan books garnered ROE under 20 per cent due in part to regulations and taxation.

During the last 12 months however, Access Financial Services Limited doubled its loan book moving from $1.08 billion to $2.2 billion as at December 2015. This was aided by its acquisition of loan books from smaller microlending firms.

"The increase in the asset base resulted in a 19 per cent increase in revenue and an improvement in the net profit margin from 29 per cent to 34 per cent for the 12-month period ending December 2015. The continued growth of our asset base and an improvement in our operational efficiency are key strategic objectives, which we will pursue in delivering exceptional returns to our shareholders," stated Chief Executive Officer Marcus James in a statement prefacing the financials.

The company's stockholders equity stands at $1.09 billion, up from $812 million a year earlier.

Just over a year ago in December 2014, Proven Investments acquired a 49 per cent stake in Access for $1.2 billion, buying the majority of its shares from Mayberry Investments which was an early investor in the venture founded by James. Mayberry reportedly invested an initial amount of $38 million in 2006 and earned approximately $955 million or some US$8.34 million from the sale of its shares.

Top shareholders in Access now include Springhill Holdings connected to James with 119.9 million shares, Proven with 136 million, Generation 4 Investments with 6.8 million shares, Winston Hoo with 3.4 million shares, Mark Golding with 766,000 shares, Ernest Hoo with 762,000 shares, Cheston Jamaica with some 681,200 shares and Frank Jackson with 600,000 shares, First Caribbean a/c B.U.T. with 480,000 shares, and Neveast Supplies with 360,000 shares.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com