KRUK S.A., which is based in Wroclaw and has been listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange since 2011, is the Polish market leader in the area of debt servicing and one of the leading players in its segment in Europe. With sophisticated software tools, the company’s staff analyses the financial situation of each customer and spreads his debt into manageable instalments.
Since its foundation in 2004 by its current CEO and second-largest shareholder Piotr Krupa, the company has developed from a small firm with less than 20 employees to an international financial group with a focus on complex and integrated service offerings related to receivables management in Poland (50.1% of total sales in 2021), Romania (23.7%), Italy (16%), Spain (6.5%) and other markets incl. Germany, Czechia and Slovakia (together 3.5%). KRUK manages debt, which it has bought itself, or for which it has been commissioned by institutional clients – e.g. banks, credit intermediaries, insurances, leasing companies, telecommunication and cable & satellite operators and FMCG companies – in three segments: uninsured consumer debt, mortgage debt and corporate debt. This approach has many advantages as statistical information from the servicing business allows the company to lower the risk of the debt portfolios that it acquires.
The KRUK Group comprises 25 fully consolidated subsidiaries incl. subsidiaries in all countries, in which it operates, RAVEN (a legal office), RD ERIF BIG (provides credit information) and NOVUM (provides loans to KRUK’s clients, who have already paid back their debt).
With a revenue and net income CAGR of 8.8% and 22.8% respectively, KRUK has grown rapidly on both top- and bottom-line in the last 5 years. In 2021, which followed the difficult pandemic year 2020, the company increased its revenues by 50.5% y-o-y to PLN 1.7bn, EBITDA by 139.7% to PLN 908m (52.1% margin vs. 32.7% in 2020) and net income by 757.9% to PLN 694.9m. All of its regional markets were profitable on EBITDA level. ROCE and ROE were very strong and reached 17.6% and 29.9% respectively. The company’s main peers Intrum (15.5%) and Hoist (negative ROE) from Sweden and Banca IFIS (6.4%) from Italy generated a lower ROE.
In 9M/22, KRUK continued its strong development as debt repayments by customers remained at a good level due to low unemployment and high salary increases. Between January and September 2022, the company’s revenues equalled PLN 1.6bn (+20.1% y-o-y), EBITDA PLN 874.8m (+17.5%; 54.3% margin) and net income PLN 676.9m (+19.7%). At the end of September, it had a net debt of PLN 3.2bn, which corresponds to a net gearing of 103.5%. This was less than Intrum (254.4%), Hoist (123.7%) and Banca Banca IFIS (290.4%).
Summary & Conclusion
We like KRUK as it is No 1 in Poland and a leader in Europe in its market, has grown strongly over the last years and since its IPO has been considered one of the best companies on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. Most of its shareholders are long-term oriented Polish pension funds and international institutional investors, while its insiders own 10.5% of its shares. Moreover, KRUK’s stock is currently pretty cheap – cons. P/E 2022E equals 7.7x compared to a 5y historical average of 16.1x – and this week the company passed a share buyback until 2026E of up to PLN 1bn at max. PLN 400 per share (40.5% above current market price). This corresponds to 20% of its current shares outstanding.
Since 2014, KRUK has paid a dividend for all fiscal years except 2019. For 2022E, the sell-side consensus assumes a DPS of PLN 12.50, which implies a dividend yield of 4.3% at present. The company’s dividend policy for 2021-2024 foresees the payout of 30% of its annual net profit to shareholders.
In terms risks, we see two main ones: (1) change of government regulations and (2) the significant increase of interest rates e.g. in Poland as it makes refinancing more difficult. Nevertheless, we expect that the debt repayment ratios of KRUK’s clients will remain solid due to high salary increases. Also, the share buyback should support the company’s share price in the coming months.
KRUK is part of the Polish bluechip index WIG20, but its shares can also be traded in Germany.