– Unsatisfactory – E24

– Unsatisfactory – E24

The tripling of interest expenses contributed to Credinor's loss of half a billion crowns last year.

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A tougher economic climate with increasing interest rates and strong price growth is also affecting the accounts of Norway's largest debt collection company.

In the final three months of last year, Credenor lost nearly NOK 230 million net, bringing the loss for all of 2023 to NOK 520 million after taxes, according to Quarterly report Which was submitted on Wednesday morning.

– It is important for me to point out that the quarterly and annual results are not satisfactory, says Credenor CEO Rolf Ek Johansen in the report.

Interest rates explode

Calculations show that a debt collection company's interest costs have risen significantly in the past year.

Interest costs of approximately NOK 350 million are approximately three times higher than in the previous year, and contribute to financial costs of more than NOK 517 million in 2023. Net financial items were -NOK 397 million (-112).

– The challenging macroeconomic environment affects us particularly in terms of cost, continues Ek Johansen.

A challenging macroeconomic environment also meant that Credenor had to write down its collection portfolio by NOK 180 million in the third quarter.

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This also meant that Kredinor faced a breach of the terms of the company's loan.

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As a result, one of the company's owners, Sparebank 1 Group, was forced to bail out a lifeline in the form of NOK 675 million.

– It is reassuring to know that our friends support us during difficult times. The work we did in the fourth quarter laid the foundation for Credenor's way forward, says Ek Johansen in a separate press release on Wednesday.

– Harder times

CEO Kredinor points out that it's not just the cost aspect that contributes to the company's underperformance.

– We are going through difficult times for both businesses and individuals, and although the increase in debt collections is not alarming, we see signs that many are struggling to make ends meet, says Ek Johansen in the report.

Meanwhile, it's not just the company raising prices.

– As with most debt collection agencies, our ability to increase income is limited because our fee income is regulated by the authorities and has been reduced over several years, says the CEO.

Reply

Ek Johansen is also humbled that collaboration with customers can and must be improved.

– Our results and feedback from actors in Norwegian and Nordic business life show that we did not do everything right last year. “We take this very seriously,” says Credenor's director.

Ek-Johansen stepped up from the chief investment officer role last fall when former CEO Klaus-Anders Nesten had to retire.

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Operational focus

Since then, the new CEO has made a number of organizational changes, including appointing a new CFO and Group Vice President of Risk Management.

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However, Ek-Johansen is clear that the battle continues.

– The most important thing we can do is improve our processes and procedures to ensure all customers receive the service they expect, he says.

Peel the results

Kredinor generated a pre-tax profit of NOK −127.4 million in the fourth quarter of last year, compared to NOK −205.7 million in the same period of the previous year.

Operating income was NOK 367 million in the fourth quarter, compared to NOK 201 million in the same period of the previous year.

For the full year 2023, pre-tax profits ended at NOK-500.6 million, compared to NOK-123.5 million in the previous year.

Operating profit (EBIT) was −NOK 104 million last year, compared to NOK −11.4 million in the previous year.

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Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

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