News

Lowell GFKL Group, a European leader in credit management services, recorded strong results for its full year ended 31 December 2016, with a 20% increase in Group Cash EBITDA1 to £254m showing the continuing benefits of the combined business.

Publishing the results today it has also announced that, following the successful merger of the Lowell Group and GFKL, it will rebrand under a unified identity: Lowell.

Financial Highlights

  • Group Cash EBITDA1 up 20% to £254m
    • Growth driven by:
      • 23% increase in Non-Performing Loan (NPL) cash collections
      • 18% increase in 3rd Party Collections (3PC) income
  • 23% year-on-year increase to £306m in portfolio acquisitions
    • 45% of acquisitions from Financial Services clients
    • 32% of acquisitions from Retail clients
    • 18% of acquisitions from Communications clients
  • 29% year-on-year increase to £10.1bn in 3PC Assets under Management (AuM)
  • 120 month gross Estimated Remaining Collections (ERC) of £1.8bn
    • 30% year-on-year increase
    • 39% of 120m ERC to crystalise as cash collections in the first two years
  • Completion of a further bond issuance related to the acquisition of Tesch

Operational Highlights

  • A series of complementary and accretive acquisitions during the year
    • Tesch (September 2016), consolidating our market leadership position in Germany
    • IS Inkasso (May 2016), expanding our geographical reach through establishing a leadership position in Austria
  • Lowell Financial retains 3 Star Exceptional rating with Investors in Customers
  • Continuing focus on consumer experience remains at the forefront of all activities
  • Ongoing compliance within the regulatory environments to deliver best practice across the Group
  • Post year end: unveiling of the new Group shared brand identity and name; providing a clear vision and strategy for the future

Outlook

Lowell has seen the momentum from 2016 continue into the new year with positive trading in its first quarter. The combined business has the fundamentals in place to continue to grow its platforms through 2017 with a clear focus on value creation.

James Cornell, CEO Lowell, said:

“This is a very good set of results for Lowell and demonstrates the strength of our combined business. 2016 was an important year in our growth with a number of strategic acquisitions across Europe, and the completion of an additional bond issuance.

Having successfully merged our businesses we have a clear vision and strategy for the Group. Combined, we exist to improve the financial well-being of clients and consumers with our principled approach and pioneering consumer insight, offering a positive, forward-looking message and a distinctive identity in the sector. Our new brand reflects this. Lowell has proven equity and existing strong positive associations; it is familiar and respected. The new brand will provide a shared identity for clients, consumers, and colleagues alike; one I believe shows our positive direction as a business.

We look to the rest of the year and beyond with confidence.”

 

 

1Cash EBITDA for the three months to 31 December 2015 and on a last 12 months basis to 31 December 2015 is defined as both Lowell’s and GFKL’s Adjusted EBITDA, each as defined in the Offering Memorandum dated 14 October 2015. Cash EBITDA for the three months to 31 December 2016 and on a last 12 months basis post 31 December 2015 is defined as collections on owned portfolios plus other turnover, less collection activity costs and other expenses (which together equals servicing costs) and before exceptional items, depreciation and amortisation.

GFKL LOWELL GROUP LAUNCHES GRADUATE PROGRAMME

Applications to be accepted on a rolling basis

The GFKL Lowell Group has announced the launch of a new Decision Science/analytics graduate programme.

The GFKL Lowell Group is one of the largest credit management companies in Europe and is backed by global investment company Permira Funds and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP). The new programme will be housed in Leeds at the company’s UK headquarters.

The graduate programme review committee is accepting applications on a rolling basis and successful candidates will start in September 2017, working in the Decision Science department.

GFKL Lowell’s Decision Science department is focused on understanding, measuring, and predicting consumer financial behaviour. The team comprises business analysts, statisticians and quantitative and behavioral scientists dedicated to addressing the company’s most challenging analytic problems.

The 18-month programme will see new team members working in a rotational cycle across the core functions of Decision Science, including operational training and with a guaranteed overseas placement. GFKL Lowell Group will also provide a dedicated mentor for the duration of the programme, and ensure development opportunities are tailored specifically to the successful applicant’s requirements.

Christopher Trepel, PhD, Group Chief Science Officer, said:

“Data and industry-leading analytics are central components of GFKL Lowell Group’s competitive strategy and we are constantly searching for candidates who display exceptional problem solving skills, drive, intellectual curiosity and ambiguity tolerance.”

“Our team is routinely focused on questions never before asked in this industry and there’s no better place to start your analyst career if you’re interested in understanding consumers, exploring novel data sets and applying a broad set of methods drawn from mathematics, psychology, economics, and management science.”

GFKL Lowell is seeking applications from those with a BSc (2:1 or better) or MSc in a quantitative discipline such as Business Analytics, Mathematics, Statistics, Physics, or a behavioural science discipline with significant coursework in statistics and/or quantitative methods. Qualified applicants can apply online at www.lowellgroup.co.uk/our-graduate-programme.

Andrew Bartle, co-founder of Lowell Group, to leave later this year.

Co-founder of Lowell, one of the UK’s leading debt purchase and recovery organisations and part of GFKL Lowell Group*, Andrew has announced his decision to leave the Group later this year to develop new ventures.

Having been a key figure in the industry for almost fifteen years, and a keen supporter of the Credit Services Association, Andrew will be hugely missed not just by his immediate colleagues at Lowell, but by everyone with whom he has worked.

The news comes shortly after Andrew was honoured alongside co-founder James Cornell, with Credit Strategy’s Collections & Customer Service (CCS) award, for their work as pioneers in the credit management sector.

Commenting James said:
“Andrew and I have worked together for many, many years. As co-founders, we’ve been brothers in the creation and development of Lowell, and so today really is the end of an era. Lowell simply wouldn’t be the company it is today without Andrew and he will be hugely missed on both a personal and professional level. We wish Andrew every success in the future as he focuses on a diverse range of start-up business and projects.

Andrew said:
“The decision to leave Lowell has been an incredibly hard one. When James and I established Lowell, we were full of ambitious ideas, but the superb team and successful organisation we’ve created today far surpasses those early plans and expectations. We are both immensely proud of the company we’ve created with the support of many colleagues and clients along the way. I leave Lowell and the industry with many fond memories and friends, both of which I cherish. I look forward to watching Lowell’s success continue in the years to come and to seeing the wider industry go from strength to strength.”

Succession planning is well underway and Andrew will remain in post until a suitable replacement is found to ensure a smooth transition.

GFKL LOWELL GROUP HEADS HONOURED WITH TOP INDUSTRY AWARD

GFKL Lowell Group’s Chief Executive, James Cornell and UK Chief Operations Officer, Andrew Bartle  were honoured at last night’s Collections & Customer Service (CCS) Awards for their work as pioneers in the credit management sector.

To commemorate ten years of the CCS Awards, organisers, Credit Strategy Magazine awarded ten organisations and key individuals with a special CCS Decade of Pioneers Award.

Kamala Panday, Publishing Director of Credit Strategy said:  Over the last ten years, Credit Strategy’s CCS Awards scheme has charted the progress of this large and complex sector. There is no doubt this world has undergone rapid transformation – from the maturation of the debt purchase sector, through to the development of a heavily regulated consumer market. And as the market has evolved, those organisations that are on its front line deserve recognition.”

Kamala continues: “Lowell Group, which merged with German market leader GFKL last year, deserves praise not only for its senior team led by James and Andrew, but for its industry-leading approach to listening to customers and actively seeking feedback as part of its commitment to treating customers fairly and with respect.”

The awards which took place last night at The Midlands Hotel in Manchester, herald best practice and achievements in debt collection, customer services, debt counselling, outsourcing and debt sale.

James Cornell said: “Both Andrew and I are delighted to have received this award. We are constantly challenging ourselves in order to adapt to the changing landscape of credit management and have a clear commitment to focus on our customers and people – it is great to receive this recognition on behalf of all the excellent colleagues who we are proud to work alongside.”

In 2013 Lowell Financial was the first organisation in its industry to team up with independent customer experience consultancy Investor in Customers (IIC) to complete a comprehensive assessment of their customer service. The assessment includes a survey of customers, staff and senior management to assess how well a business understands its customer needs and how well it delivers services that meet those needs. Lowell currently holds IIC’s top rating of 3 stars for Exceptional service.

LOWELL GFKL GROUP ANNOUNCES IMPRESSIVE THIRD QUARTER RESULTS

Lowell GFKL Group, a European leader in credit receivables management, today announces impressive results for its third quarter ended 30 September 2016.

Financial Highlights

  • Group Cash EBITDA* of £69m for the three months to September 2016 – an increase of 34% versus the three months to September 2015
  • 120 month gross Estimated Remaining Collections (ERC) of £1.7bn, an increase
    of  20% from September 2015 (up £274m) and 22% higher versus December 2015
  • Non-Performing Loan (NPL) portfolio acquisitions of £238m in the last 12 months
    to September 2016, consistent with the 12 months to September 2015
  • Solid pipeline of NPL portfolio acquisitions in place for Q4 giving visibility
    of expected purchases for the full year in excess of £250m

Operational Highlights

  • Closed the acquisition of Tesch Inkasso at the end of September 2016
  • Raised €230m to fund the Tesch Inkasso transaction and provide further investment capital
  • Integration of all businesses is progressing well
  • Focus on value creation remains paramount:
    • Sharing best practice to increase competitiveness
    • Building the strongest platforms to secure local market leadership
    • Maintaining a disciplined approach to pricing and investment
  • Compliance with the regulatory environments and the continuing focus on customer experience remain at the forefront of all activities

Outlook

The Group continues to perform well, with on-going opportunities to deploy capital in accretive investments. We see structural drivers for market growth in both Germany and the UK and as such the outlook for the Group remains positive.

Commenting on the results, Colin Storrar CFO said:

“I’m pleased to announce the delivery of impressive results by the Lowell GFKL Group. We have seen positive momentum during the third quarter with significant growth in both Cash EBITDA and 120 month ERC year on year. In light of our 2016 year to date performance and recent complementary acquisitions, we look to the future positively.”

 

* Cash EBITDA for the three months to 30 September 2015 and on a last 12 months basis to 31 December 2015 is defined as both Lowell’s and GFKL’s Adjusted EBITDA, each as defined in the Offering Memorandum dated 14 October 2015. Cash EBITDA for the three months to 30 September 2016 and on a last 12 months basis post 31 December 2015 is defined as collections on owned portfolios plus other turnover, less collection activity costs and other expenses (which together equals servicing costs) and before exceptional items, depreciation and amortisation.

 

For further information, please contact:

Investor Relations enquiries:                    

Jon Trott, Head of Investor Relations

Telephone: +44 7551 153 793

Email: investors@garfunkelux.com

 

Media enquiries:

UK

Lisa Caswell

Telephone: + 44 7393 236 925

Email: MediaEnquiries@lowellgroup.co.uk

Germany

Michaela Heitkemper

Telephone: + 49 201 102 1198

Email: pr@gfkl.com

 

About Lowell GFKL Group:

The Lowell GFKL Group was created in October 2015 following the merger of the UK and German market leaders, the Lowell Group and the GFKL Group. This union created one of the largest credit management companies in Europe. It benefits from the backing of global investment company Permira and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. The Group’s experience, expertise and core strengths in data analytics and operational efficiency underpin its vision to be the most reputable and trusted partner in the European credit management sector. For more information on the Group, please visit our investor website:

investors.garfunkelux.com

For information on the individual companies, please visit:

www.lowellgroup.co.uk

www.gfkl.com

Non-IFRS financial measures

We have included certain non-IFRS financial measures in this trading update, including Estimated Remaining Collections (“ERC”) and Cash EBITDA.

We present ERC because it represents our expected gross cash proceeds of the purchased debt portfolios recorded on our balance sheet (the “Purchased Assets”) over the 84-month, 120-month and 180-month periods. ERC is calculated as of a point in time assuming no additional purchases are made. ERC is a metric that is also often used by other companies in our industry. We present ERC because it represents our best estimate of the undiscounted cash value of our Purchased Assets at any point in time, which is an important supplemental measure for our board of directors and management to assess our performance, and underscores the cash generation capacity of the assets backing our business. In addition, the instruments governing our indebtedness use ERC to measure our compliance with certain covenants and, in certain circumstances, our ability to incur indebtedness. ERC is a projection, calculated by our proprietary analytical models, which utilise historical portfolio collection performance data and assumptions about future collection rates, and we cannot guarantee that we will achieve such collections. ERC,  as computed by us, may not be comparable to similar metrics used by other companies in our industry.

We present Cash EBITDA because we believe it may enhance an investor’s understanding of our profitability and cash flow generation that could be used to service or pay down debt, pay income taxes, purchase new debt portfolios and for other uses, and because it is frequently used by securities analysts, investors and other interested parties in the evaluation of companies generally. In addition to ERC, our board of directors and management also use Cash EBITDA to assess our performance. Cash EBITDA is not a measure calculated in accordance with IFRS and our use of the term Cash EBITDA may vary from others in our industry. For a reconciliation of Cash EBITDA to operating profit, see the “Reconciling the Q3 Interim Numbers to this Presentation” page within the Investor Presentation document available on the investor website.

ERC and Cash EBITDA and all the other non-IFRS measures presented have important limitations as analytical tools and you should not consider them in isolation or as substitutes for analysis of our results as reported under IFRS.