Latest News

12 April 

SocGen to divest SGEF to BPCE for €1.1bn  

Credit: Hadrian / Shutterstock

Societe Generale has announced a significant milestone in its strategic realignment, striking a deal to divest its professional equipment financing business to BPCE for €1.1 billion.  

This transaction marks a decisive move in Societe Generale's efforts to refine its business model, optimise synergies, and strengthen its capital position. 

The agreement entails the transfer of most of Societe Generale Equipment Finance (SGEF) activities to BPCE, with the exception of operations in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.  

SGEF is renowned for its bespoke financing and leasing solutions catering to a diverse clientele including distributors, traders and manufacturers. 

Operating across 25 countries, SGEF boasts an impressive annual new business volume exceeding €6 billion, with global outstandings reaching €15 billion as of December 2023. By offloading this segment, Societe Generale aims to streamline its operations and focus on core areas of strength and growth potential. 

For BPCE, the acquisition presents a significant opportunity to bolster its position in the equipment financing market.  

25 April 

Allica surpasses £500m milestone in asset finance lending 

Allica Bank, a UK-based business bank catering to SMEs with 10 to 250 employees, has surpassed £500 million in asset finance lending since launching its division in January 2021. Experiencing substantial growth, the bank achieved nearly double the lending volume of the past two years combined within the last 12 months. 

This achievement coincides with the bank's recent milestone of attaining its first full year of profitability in 2023, having lent over £2 billion to established businesses, primarily in commercial mortgages.  Allica Bank has seen a surge in asset finance applications, averaging over 750 monthly compared to 450 in 2022. To support this growth, the bank increased its business development manager team by 40% in 2023 and expanded its sales support team to include 19 individuals.  

Additionally, the bank expanded its product portfolio to include soft and medium assets, resulting in nearly £50 million in applications. Allica Bank has also actively participated in the Recovery Loan Scheme, supporting applications outside its usual credit appetite. 

26 April 

UTB launches block discounting service for non-bank lenders  

UK-based United Trust Bank (UTB) has introduced a block discounting service, providing essential funding options for non-bank lenders that do not have access to retail consumer deposits.  In addition to having multiple active facilities with small and medium-sized independent asset finance companies, UTB’s new venture is now negotiating with more possible partners. Julian Mellors is leading the new services, which soft-launched in October 2023.  

Currently, the bank is focusing on fostering relationships with asset finance companies that fund lease, hire purchase, and loan contracts.  UTB said it aims to offer a same-day service for facility drawdowns.  

UTB head of block discounting Julian Mellors said: "UTB has been considering entering this sector since last year as part of its product and market-diversification strategy."  

In 2023, UTB reported operating profit of £87.5m, up 41% from the prior year.  Its operating income rose 34%, reaching £154.1m, while the return on equity (ROE) soared to 23.9%. 

10 April

NETSOL unveils NFS Ascent for unnamed German auto captive in South Korea 

NETSOL Technologies, Inc., a global leader in IT solutions for asset finance and leasing, has successfully implemented its NFS Ascent platform for a prominent German auto captive finance company in South Korea. This deployment signifies a significant milestone in their enduring partnership, supporting the client's operations in the region. The comprehensive deployment includes the full suite of NFS Ascent, encompassing retail and wholesale platforms.  

Key features such as Omni Point of Sale (Omni POS) and Contract Management System (CMS) are integrated into the retail platform, while the Wholesale Finance System plays a crucial role in the wholesale platform. This deployment is part of a contract valued at over $110 million, which covers implementations across 12 countries in the Asia-Pacific region and South Africa.  

The South Korean deployment marks the eleventh market to go live under this extensive contract, showcasing NETSOL's commitment to delivering innovative solutions globally.  

NETSOL founder and CEO, Najeeb Ghauri, underscored the company's dedication to delivering despite hurdles like intricate integrations and the COVID-19 pandemic.  

28 March 

NatWest and Tesco launch sustainable finance scheme for farmers  

NatWest and Tesco have announced the launch of a new sustainable finance scheme aimed at assisting farmers in transitioning to eco-friendly farming methods.  This initiative provides preferential financing rates to encourage the adoption of renewable energy sources and fossil fuel-free heating or cooling systems.  

Developed with contributions from farmers, the scheme will initially be available to 1,500 farmers within Tesco’s Sustainable Farming Groups for beef, lamb and dairy.   

Through Lombard, an asset finance provider and part of NatWest, farmers will be able to secure funding solutions that are tailored to their needs.   

Participants are also expected to benefit from access to Tesco’s preferred suppliers and potential volume discounts on renewable energy assets.  The range of assets covered in the partnership encompasses solar panels, wind turbines, biomass boilers, LED lighting, battery storage, and combined heat and power systems.   

If the programme is well received, NatWest and Tesco may eventually expand its eligibility to include more of its farmers.