P2P lender ThinCats Australia on prowl for strategic investors, potential IPO

P2P lender ThinCats Australia on prowl for strategic investors, potential IPO

AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW

STREET TALK Jun 22 2015 at 12:15 AM


Morgan Stanley has tipped the value of Australian P2P loans to hit $22 billion by 2020, and for the global market to be worth up to $US490 billion.

• by Sarah Thompson Anthony Macdonald Jake Mitchell

ThinCats Australia is looking to capitalise on investor interest in peer-to-peer lending, as it gears up for a potential initial public offering and holds talks with strategic investors.

It’s understood ThinCats Australia, backed by UK-parent ThinCats, is in discussions with private equity firms, credit unions and accounting firms about a strategic investment.

The company, which launched in Australia last year, is also considering a run at the ASX boards.

ThinCats focuses on lending to small and medium-sized businesses, who can have trouble getting loans off more traditional lenders.

Financial institutions, media companies and some well-known investors have shown strong interest in the growing P2P sector. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, investment firms controlled by James Packer and Kerry Stokes, and Westpac Banking Corp piled into P2P lender SocietyOne last year.

It will be interesting to see if ThinCats can attract the same sort of big-name investors. The company is 25 per cent owned by ThinCats UK, which has completed £115 million ($235 million) of P2P loans and unveiled a £50 million underwriting agreement with European hedge fund ESO Capital Group in February.

ThinCats Australia has a base of 203 lenders and has delivered loans to businesses at interest rates between 11.5 per cent to 14 per cent per annum. Morgan Stanley tips Australian P2P loans to hit $22 billion by 2020, while the global market would be worth $US490 billion ($630 billion).

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