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|Intrum Justitia completes acquisition of UK debt purchaser 1st Credit|
|Wednesday, 15 February 2017|
European credit management services group Intrum Justitia has completed a deal to acquire UK debt purchaser 1st Credit from private equity firm Bridgepoint for an enterprise value of £130m.
1st Credit is an award-winning ethical debt purchaser that acquires debt portfolios from banks, financial services businesses, utility suppliers and telecoms companies and enters into long-term repayment agreements with consumers.
Headquartered in Reigate, 1st Credit was acquired by Bridgepoint in 2004. It has customer arrangements of more than £300m.
Authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), 1st Credit has achieved a three star Investor in Customers accreditation three years running for its high levels of customer service. It holds a +44% net promoter score – unprecedented in this industry – and is the first debt purchaser to be accredited with an ISO standard for dealing with vulnerability.
In November, 1st Credit won awards for Best Conduct and Compliance Culture and Best Customer Service at the independent Credit Strategy Collections and Customer Service Awards. It is the sixth time the firm has won the scheme’s award for compliance.
Intrum Justitia, which is listed on the Stockholm Nasdaq, has more than 90 years of experience, 19 offices across Europe and an international network covering 160 additional countries. In November it announced plans to merge with fellow credit management business Lindorff, creating an industry-leading credit management services business with a presence in 23 markets across Europe and 8,000 employees.
Mikael Ericson, President and CEO of Intrum Justitia AB, said: “By acquiring 1st Credit, we strengthen our ability to service clients in the financial industry and we take another important step towards accelerating the growth of Intrum Justitia. The UK market is one of the largest and most developed in Europe. With 1st Credit, we acquire a strong unit with a solid organisation which we believe can grow into one of the market leaders in the UK in the coming years.”
Intrum has retained the existing UK management team, led by Chairman Leith Robertson and Chief Executive Eddie Nott.
Commenting on the transaction, 1st Credit Chairman Leith Robertson said: “We are delighted to complete the deal to join Intrum Justitia and become its UK debt purchase and collection business. As the European market leader with a solid financial position, it is well placed to leverage 1st Credit’s expertise, knowledge of the complex compliance requirements, and relationship with UK bank purchasing panels and corporate customers. We look forward to working as part of its successful specialist debt recovery and debt portfolio purchasing arm.”
1st Credit Chief Executive Eddie Nott said: “1st Credit is well-known for its highly ethical approach to the treatment of customers in debt and this track record has secured our place on all the major debt purchase panels. There is a clear opportunity for expansion in the UK and becoming part of Intrum Justitia provides new levels of expertise and a lower cost of capital, which will allow us to take advantage of that opportunity. We intend to increase our purchase levels significantly and look forward to working with the team at Intrum Justitia to expand the business.”
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