Shares of Funding Circle (FCH.L), a British peer-to-peer lender, plunged early on Tuesday after the company halved its sales guidance for the full-year as an uncertain economic environment led the group to proactively tighten lending criteria to higher-risk band businesses.
The company, with loans platforms in the UK, US, Germany, and the Netherlands, said in a trading update that sales in the first half that ended June 30 rose by about 30% year-on-year, with a 37% jump in loans under management to 3.5 billion pounds ($4.43 billion) and a 14% increase in new loan originations to 1.2 billion pounds.
Current loan performance remains in line with previous projections, the group noted. Across all geographies, investor returns on a net basis are expected to deliver 4.4%-8.4% in 2018 and 5.0%-8.5% in 2019. While a further tightening of lending to higher-risk band businesses affects overall origination volumes, the firm pointed out that the decision would protect net returns for investors on the platform.
As a result, Funding Circle expects revenue growth to be about 20%, versus previous guidance of 40% in the full year. But, the adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization loss margin for 2019 is forecast to improve over the restated 16.5% reported for the previous year.
“We recognize that this is a change from our previous guidance, but we are taking the prudent course of action for the long-term growth and development of our business,” Samir Desai, chief executive officer, said in a statement.
The company, which lent 177 million pounds to the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises in the first quarter, has “paused” the launch of operations in Canada this year to focus on operations in its existing markets.