Chesswood Group, a publicly traded North American specialty finance company providing commercial equipment leases and loans, automotive loans, home improvement financing, legal financing, and asset management, has initiated a review of strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value.
Chesswood’s business strategy has focused on diversifying and growing its origination capabilities in specialty commercial and consumer lending. As a result, Chesswood has built a portfolio of receivables exceeding $2 billion with embedded profit potential. In addition, Chesswood has established several off-balance sheet funding relationships to facilitate non-dilutive growth for shareholders.
According to Chesswood, in the past 12 months, the combination of rising interest rates and regional bank failures in the U.S. negatively impacted public market perception of financial services companies generally. In contrast, private credit interest in commercial and consumer origination platforms remains robust.
In response to these conditions, Chesswood, through a special committee of its directors, will evaluate a range of alternatives to determine the best path forward to maximize value for shareholders. Alternatives may include the sale of certain assets, a wind down of portfolios as well as other strategic options. The special committee will retain external financial advisors to assist in this process.
This review process may not result in any significant strategic change, but the company’s intention is to complete the review by March 31. Chesswood does not plan to provide updates on the status of the review until material developments emerge.
While conducting this review, dividends to shareholders will be suspended. Reinstatement will be dependent on the outcome of the strategic review.
“Chesswood has been a public company for 18 years, originally as an income trust, and has been focused on shareholder dividends. In recent years, Chesswood’s management team has built considerable value through growth and diversification of its receivables portfolios that has been underappreciated by public markets. Management and the board will review options for the business aimed to unlock value given that the unearned income of existing receivables alone exceeds Chesswood’s current market value,” Ryan Marr, president and CEO of Chesswood Group, said.
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