Motor finance and specialist lender S&U has published its financial results for the year ended 31 January 2019, revealing a 15% increase in profit before taxation (PBT) to £34.6m.

Group revenues were also up 15% to £89.2m, while net receivables increased by 6% to £277.1m.

Advantage Motor Finance recorded its 19th consecutive year of profit growth – rising from £30.2m in 2018 to £33.6m this year. The company also enjoyed a more than 15% return on capital employed for an eighth successive year, while over 1m applications were received by Advantage during the year – of which only just over 2% were written.

Aspen Bridging, which is only in its second year of operation, registered PBT of £838,000. The firm’s loan book reached £18m, including £36m gross advances and £17m repayments since launch.

In November last year, parent company S&U pledged its support for the development of Aspen Bridging – with total investment in bridging and property lending expected to hit £30m in 2019, while further funds could be made available dependent on the requirements and performance of Aspen after that.

At the time, Ed Ahrens, managing director of Aspen, said: ““We are delighted that the hard work and ideas of the team at Aspen have been recognised by the S&U board in their decision to make further investment and move Aspen forward from the pilot phase.”

Commenting on the group’s annual results, Anthony Coombs, chairman of S&U, said: “In my statement a year ago I referred to a slowing economy and lower levels of consumer confidence, partly induced by relentless pessimism in much of the media about life after Brexit.  For Advantage I anticipated that this might necessitate “sensible gear changes, steering tweaks and an easing of the accelerator”.

“So it has proved this year.  As the economy and the motor sector has slowed, prudently tightened underwriting and some increased competition have seen group advances moderate to £152m against £165m in 2018.  This is primarily due to a prudent 21,000 new deals at Advantage this year, which was less than the record 24,500 achieved last year but still the second highest new customer intake ever.”