Sound Investment Protect Against VolatilityFri, 09/01/2017 - 10:06
Q: Why did Unifin choose to issue bonds instead of bank financing that could have lower interest rates?
GT: Rather than focusing on a specific financing source, we diversify across three main financing sources. These are banking financing, securitization on the domestic market and the 144A-Reg S global bond. All three mechanisms are effective tools for Unifin. At the end of November 2016, we went through a securitization of MX$2.5 billion and even though the markets were facing unfavorable conditions, we were successful. We also refinanced our participation in the 144A-Reg S global bond. This allowed us to move 2019’s expiration to 2023, by setting a fixed peso rate with an exposure specifically to pesos. We have proved that regardless of adverse market conditions Unifin is a solid company that is well-positioned to face the volatility ahead.
We have experienced consistent growth of approximately 35-40 percent accumulated year on year. Our existing resources allow us to continue the same dynamic in our three business units, namely automotive financing, leasing and factoring. Unifin designates 100 percent of acquired resources toward procuring new portfolios.
Even when no future capital market placements are on the horizon, we always keep them in mind because market opportunities can arise unexpectedly. It also helps us to maintain solid ratios and metrics. Unifin has a capitalization level above 15 percent, which illustrates our stability. We would consider new capital market placements if company growth would enable us to obtain ratios under 12 percent.
Q: What would you say is the main reason investors feel so comfortable with Unifin?
GT: Capital markets by rule try to anticipate a company’s results, which means trying to anticipate the value of a company’s shares 12 to 24 months ahead of time. When Unifin went public, the company’s shares were worth MX$28 and now they are worth around MX$50. Our shares are behaving positively thanks to the credibility of the company and the confidence that all our investors have in the company’s ability to continue growing and yielding the results they expect.
Q: What are Unifin’s plans regarding taking on new business?
GT: Our focus is always on providing our clients with tailormade financial solutions. But building a relationship and providing personalized solutions to small companies is challenging, so we plan to channel all our attention into doing this successfully. In terms of selling ourselves to new businesses, we describe Unifin as a one-stop shop that meets our clients’ financial needs.
Q: How is Unifin working to strengthen its leasing services, while also diversifying business operations?
GT: Leasing represents around 90 percent of our business and 85 percent of our profits. Our leasing division finances transportation equipment and industrial equipment. These two areas have grown well and proportionate to the growth of our portfolio. Unifin is one of the main financiers of the transportation sector and of SMEs. Our diverse portfolio is one of our advantages as it means that the entire business does not depend on one area.
EC: Most of our operations are managed through assets, so half of our portfolio consists of assets related to the transportation sector, while the other half is related to industrial equipment or other assets. Being a multibrandfinancing company is one of our competitive advantages.
Q: What is the strategy to have a greater impact on the automotive industry?
EC: We need to have a clear and strong presence where market opportunities may arise. Foreign financing companies have a significant presence in the Mexican market. The resource availability these companies provide is a competitive advantage. That is why Unifin, with its focus on SMEs, has found important market niches in which to establish a strong presence and highlight our competitive advantages. We have always focused on providing rapid, tailor-made solutions, complying with our clients’ demands in the least possible amount of time.
GT: By personalizing our business we can make our clients aware of our capacities and by understanding their needs we can foster long-term business relationships. All our efforts in marketing are focused on making clients identify us as a personalized solution rather than just financial products.
Q: What is Unifin’s growth expectation for the automotive financing market?
GT: We want to provide an agile and personalized service, which means authorizing a credit line for all our products in less than 48 hours. This is something no other financing company can do. We will continue promoting our existing products and complement our services with an insurance division. Our auto loan division enjoyed the most growth during 2016 and our future growth depends on how we approach customers and how they approach us. Instead of selling a product, we want to sell a solution that meets people’s needs. In 2017, we do not expect to grow in line with market growth but to increase our market share by maintaining the growth levels we have experienced so far.
Our market participation must be evaluated differently, depending against which institution we compare ourselves. In terms of GDP, for instance, leasing is not an important activity, accounting for around 0.5 percent of the country’s total GDP. In comparison, total loans represent approximately 30 percent of the national GDP.
The Mexican leasing sector is not fully matured compared to its Colombian or Chilean counterpart — in these countries, leasing represents around 8 percent of GDP. The sector has potential in Mexico and competition is fair. In the leasing sector, no one player dominates, we all focus on our own market niche. Unifin’s specialty is helping SMEs, with an approximate market share of between 10 and 15 percent, which positions us as segment leaders.
EC: Consumption patterns have changed immensely and to keep up, we try to be as agile as possible and upfront with our clients, always with the goal of supporting them. Technology has changed the way people make decisions and we are always trying to learn new techniques to understand the market. Even though automotive financing is not our biggest business unit, its behavior provides us with insight into business patterns, allowing Unifin to increase its automotive-financing segment faster than the competition. We expected 2016 to close with the highest number of cars sold in the country, 1.5 million vehicles, of which 70 percent would have been sold through a financing scheme. Although financing did not reach this expectation, we still detected an opportunity for Unifin to increase its market participation.