Nation Lanka Finance (NLF) recently continued its momentum of growth by recording an impressive group profit before tax of Rs. 199.91 million and company profits of Rs. 111.86 million, in the financial year ending 31 March 2015/2016. Nation Lanka Finance has currently completed almost 3/4 of its strategic turnaround and restructuring process at a group and company level, and during the course of the next 2-3 years, the group is preparing to strengthen its position as a dynamic leader and catalyst for change in the local and regional financial services industry.
Strong year-end profits were recorded despite NLF allocating substantial provisions to obtain audit clearances in alignment with the group’s renewed commitment to compliance. Net interest income during the period under review increased by 157% in comparison to Rs. 1.45 billion the recorded in the previous year. Topline growth increased by 95% and Interest income was recorded at Rs. 2.26 billion, an improvement over Rs. 1.11 billion from the previous year.
The increase in profits has been attributed to the improved levels of cost efficiency and lowered sourcing costs that were applied across the group. Operating costs increased to Rs. 806 million,which is a mere 4%, due to significant investments that were made to train and expand the NLF team across all levels of the organization. The cost to income ratio was reduced to a healthier 59% from the 155% of the previous year, earnings per share reached Rs. 0.81 at group level and Rs. 0.42 per share in the company. Total assets during the period under review also increased to Rs. 7.8 billion from the Rs. 7.1 billion of the previous year.
Commenting on the group’s financial performance, Jayantha Perera – Director/CEO, Nation Lanka Finance stated: “Following the strong financial results that were achieved in the financial year ending 31 March 2015/2016, NLF is now well poised to complete our restructuring process, and strengthen our leadership position in the industry. Our core focus has always been to ensure the wealth maximization of our shareholders and ensure that they receive worthwhile returns on their investments. Our restructuring process has ensured that all employees and stakeholders work together towards the group’s success, whilst keeping the best interests of our shareholders in mind at all times. Looking ahead to the future, we hope to expand our product portfolio which is currently valued at over Rs. 6.5 billion. Key areas, which we will focus on to diversify and strengthen our offering, include property investment and real-estate loans. We will also be focusing heavily on expanding our geographical presence and strengthening our key ratios to ensure that they are all above the industry average.”
Elaborating on the key highlights of the previous year, Jayantha Perera added: “In the year under review, we raised over Rs. 502 million by way of a rights issue, at the rate of 2 shares for every existing share. The rights issue was oversubscribed and this was a strong indication of the public’s trust in the group. From an internal perspective, we updated all of our standard procedures and introduced a new operational manual to help streamline the management of information. We also established related party policies and put the necessary internal controls in place to ensure that we adhere to the highest standards of good governance. Our Business Continuity Plan was also introduced this year and wehope to set up the fully-fledged disaster recovery site and protocols within the year. The site will ensure that the group continues to operate seamlessly and deliver our services to our valued customers without interruptions, in the event of a natural disaster or national emergency.”
In the year ahead, Jayantha Perera concluded that Nation Lanka Finance hopes to strengthen its focus on CSR, particularly in the areas of medical and clean water initiatives and the group also hopes to introduce specialized training projects for its customers. Nation Lanka Finance will also be rolling out an integrated branding strategy in a long-term effort to build its brand equity and increase brand awareness and recall amongst key stakeholders.