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20 July 2022

Interview with ausbiz

Managing Director, Keith John, speaks with ausbiz about FY21 EBITDA guidance and future growth of Purchased Debt Portfolios. Watch now or read the transcript below.

Andrew: Let's get company specific, and Pioneer Credit, ticker code PNC, it's share price closing up nearly 3% yesterday after reconfirming financial EBITDA guidance of more than $55 million. To take us through the detail, managing director, Keith John, joining us now live. Keith, good to talk to you this morning. All right. How do you assess where the company's at right now?

Keith: Thanks, Andrew. Yeah, look, we've had a pretty decent year under obviously challenging circumstances. We completed our initial refinance having starved off a scheme of arrangement in September last year, and really have been getting back to business as usual through this year. $55 million EBITDA is a quite remarkable result showing the great operating environment, at least for our business domestically, and how we're actually executing within the business. It's a little bit more challenging in terms of how we invest our money and the portfolios we buy for our business. We see that improving through the next year as well.

Kara: Yeah. Where is that growth going to come from then? What is the outlook going forward?

Keith: Yeah, Kara, I think one of the things that we've seen over the course of the last year is the banks who we typically source our business from have been very cautious around customer treatment and the way that they progress customers through a receivable cycle. Pioneer is very respectful of that and it's one of the reasons we work very closely with the banks.

Over the course of the next year, we expect that to open up again as the economy is returned to normal and the economy continues to open up. And that's certainly something that looks very positive for Pioneer for the next couple of years.

Andrew: Keith, do you see any risks ahead, particularly, I guess, where interest rates may be heading? I mean clearly, the expectation they will begin rising, with customers perhaps overextending themselves in the amount of debt they've taken on.

Keith: Yeah. Look, Andrew, it's a real concern. I think that over the course of the next year, we've heard plenty of discussion about how debt's cheap at the moment and how companies and individuals should be taking on more debt. I think there clearly is an unwind. There always has been following every part of every cycle. I think consumers need to be careful. And certainly from our perspective, we're expecting to see increasing flows of work from the banks over the course of the next couple of years, as interest rates continue to or start to tick up. And also as the banks become more risk averse, as that happens and budgets become a little bit more constrained.

Kara: And I understand you've made a new appointment to the board when it comes to the CFO.

Keith: Yeah. So we've got a new CFO, Barry Hartnett. Barry's been with us for eight years. He's a remarkable individual and has straddled all aspects of our business. In terms of the board, we recently appointed two new directors, Steve Targett, who's a very experienced banker, and Michelle d'Almeida we announced yesterday. Michelle has come out of the News Corp stable, where she was running the Sunday Times in Perth, now in Perth. So a lot of customer experience and digital experience.

We think those are really important aspects to have in our business, particularly as customers are gravitating towards more digital type engagement. Certainly having that experience will assist us as we go forward.

Andrew: Keith, thanks so much for the update. Thanks for joining us from Pioneer Credit.

Keith: Appreciate it. Thanks so much.

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