Cape Town – In its first results as a listed entity, structured finance house Mettle reaped the benefits of focused, organic growth and was now moving its structuring skills into the institutional and offshore emerging markets for longer-term growth. Gavin O’Connor, the managing director, said yesterday the group had taken far-reaching strategic steps to secure future growth. “Taking our structured product skills into the institutional market from the focus on the corporate market is possible because the skills set in Mettle has grown and the balance sheet is bigger,” O’Connor said. Mettle, now in its seventh year of operation and attaining growing market share, upped headline earnings a share by 50,4 percent to 13,1c in the year to March as all niche businesses chipped in strongly. The exceptional item of R36,2 million was attributed to the reverse takeover by Mettle late last year of the Greenwich Group. Net profit jumped to R100,8 million from R44,5 million, while total revenue was 31,6 percent higher. In March Mettle reverse listed into Greenwich, a by-product of the reverse takeover. During the year the company achieved return on equity of 39,6 percent and organic revenue growth of 31,6 percent. Organic growth was mainly from the structured price area, which is made up of the securitisation operation, the group’s African operations (Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana and a soon-to-be-opened office in Kenya) and the treasury business. On the longer-term growth ambitions, O’Connor said Mettle had so far been a big raiser of capital for corporates. It now wanted to generate assets for the institutional side of the market. The merger with Greenwich had helped Mettle grow its London operation, which now had 33 professionals. Mettle had a profitable base offshore, which it would use to provide structured products to other emerging markets similar to South Africa in eastern Europe. The longer-term benefits of a listing were profile and the ability to raise capital. Empowerment partner Hosken Consolidated Investments holds 32,8 percent of Mettle. Mettle’s share price dipped 1,7 percent to 59c yesterday.

Source: Business Report – Vera von Lieres