First Auto Finance, the company set up by former Irish Permanent chief executive Billy Kane, saw profits jump by 43 per cent last year as income rose by 35 per cent.
The firm, a non-bank provider of car finance in Ireland, reported pretax profits of €3.07 million for the year ending December 31st, 2015, compared with €2.13 million for 2014. Income totalled €13 million, versus €9.62 million in 2014, while operating profit increased from €2.14 million to €3.08 million.
Net assets in 2015 came in at €9.72 million, versus €5.65 million in the preceding year, while shareholders’ funds rose from €3.93 million to €6.6 million.
The company employed 36 people in 2015, up from 28 a year earlier. Staff costs, including directors’ remuneration, were €1.74 million, as against €1.54 million in 2014.
Established in early 2011, First Auto is the exclusive Irish partner of the UK-based financing firm, Close Brothers Motor Finance.
The company emerged to fill the credit vacuum left after foreign-owned lenders such as Bank of Scotland, GE and Lombard left Ireland in the wake of the downturn.
Car manufacturers are also particularly active in this sector, with Volkswagen Group, BMW and Renault all offering their own financing operations in Ireland. BMW Finance also has a subsidiary arm, Alphera Finance, which offers car finance to dealers for other brands.
First Auto is a subsidiary of the specialist lender Finance Ireland, which last year secured €25 million in equity funding and which is looking to raise a similar figure this year.