Pepper Advantage, which manages Irish residential loan portfolios for various financial institutions, paid a dividend of €27 million to its parent group last year, latest accounts show.
This followed another year of strong profitability for the Australian-owned business, which manages about 80,000 residential mortgages in the Irish market on behalf of various groups.
Accounts for Pepper Finance Corporation (Ireland) show that it made a pretax profit of €13.9 million on revenues of €54.5 million for the year to the end of December 2021. This compared with a pretax profit of €13.8 million on revenues of €50.4 million a year earlier.
The distribution to its parent entity, Pepper Ireland Finance Holdings Ltd (PIFH), was made in November 2021 as part of a “group restructuring”, according to the directors’ report. It had paid a dividend of €5.4 million a year earlier. The company closed last year with shareholders’ funds of €9.6 million.
PIFH is also based in Ireland but is a subsidiary of a Jersey-based entity. The group is ultimately based in Australia.
Client assets under management increased by €1 billion to €18.4 billion at the year-end, driven by a portfolio secured from Glenbeigh. It is understood that this figure topped €20 billion in the first half of this year.
Pepper manages loans for a number of financial groups, including non-bank lender Finance Ireland, Goldman Sachs and Carval. Its work includes servicing loans that were associated with lenders that left the Irish market post the 2008 crash, including Danske Bank and Bank of Scotland.
Many of the loans were non-performing post the crash but are now reperforming. The loans would be trackers or on a standard variable rate, with recent European Central Bank rate rises passed on to the borrowers.
Commenting on the current interest rate environment, Cormac Ryan, chief executive of Pepper Advantage in Ireland, said: “Right now, with the rising cost of living and rising interest rates, we are acutely conscious that this is a challenging time for many people. We would encourage Pepper customers who are worried that their financial situation may change, or who are experiencing financial difficulties, to please contact us and our team who are available to help support customers by leveraging our experience and broad range of solutions available.”
In July 2021, Pepper re-entered the market for commercial property mortgages here under the brand Pepper Money Commercial.
The average number of employees at Pepper during last year was 477, down from 496 a year earlier. But the company has since grown following an increase in its number of mandates. Its residential mortgages operations centre is based in Shannon.
In spite of the reduced numbers of staff on its books last year, Pepper’s wage bill rose by €2.2 million to €27.1 million in 2021.