IPF boosted by digital growth but takes a hit from Polish tax proposals

IPF's head office in Leeds
IPF's head office in Leeds
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Credit lender International Personal Finance said it has delivered a good performance in the year to date, boosted by strong growth at its digital arm.

The Leeds-based group, which operates the world's largest home credit business, said credit issued rose 6 per cent in its third quarter while IPF Digital saw growth of 39 per cent.

However, the group's shares fell 4 per cent in early trading on worries about a new tax proposal in Poland.

IPF said a draft law proposing amendments to existing tax legislation in Poland has been submitted to Parliament and is currently being debated by the Parliamentary Finance Committee. "Our current view is that, if the bill is enacted without further amendment, certain cross-border transactions that our Polish subsidiary has entered into are likely to become economically inefficient," the firm said.

"This would most likely give rise to an effective tax rate for the group of around 42 per cent for 2019, compared to the expected rate of 34 per cent for 2018. We, alongside many other financial and non-financial businesses, are making the case to key stakeholders for modification of the current draft proposals."

Analyst Gary Greenwood at Shore Capital said: "This is a good third quarter trading update, but the new tax proposal in Poland could materially increase the group's tax rate in 2019."

He said this represents another blow to the investment case in respect of the group’s largest operating region.

IPF provides unsecured consumer credit to more than two million customers across 11 markets.

The group said: "We have delivered a good performance both in the third quarter and the year to date, and continue to make strong progress against our strategic objectives.

"We are focused on improving the sustainability of our European home credit businesses to continue providing a good service to our customers and deliver strong returns to reward shareholders and fund growth opportunities in our Mexico home credit and IPF Digital operations."