New figures released today by the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) show that asset finance new business (primarily leasing and hire purchase) grew by 5% in March, compared with the same month last year, and by 9% in Q1 2017 overall.

For deals of up to £20 million, asset finance new business in March grew by 14% compared with the same month in the previous year – the strongest rate of growth since August 2016. The plant and machinery finance and commercial vehicle finance sectors reported new business up in March by 18% and 12% respectively, compared with the same period in 2016. New finance for business equipment was up by 2% over the same period.

Commenting on the figures, Geraldine Kilkelly, Head of Research and Chief Economist at the FLA, said “The strong growth in asset finance new business in the first quarter of 2017 was above expectations, and reflects the improved outlook for business investment reported by the Bank of England in its May 2017 Inflation Report. In the first quarter, the agricultural and construction equipment finance sectors were particularly strong, with new business growth of 43% and 23% respectively, compared with Q1 2016.”

Mar 2017 % change on prev. year 3 months to Mar

2017

% change on prev. year 12 months to Mar

2017

% change on prev. year
Total FLA asset finance (£m) 3,538 +5 7,986 +9 30,836 +6
Total excluding high value (£m) 3,452 +14 7,641 +11 29,694 +6
Data Extracts:

 

By asset:

Plant and machinery finance (£m) 714 +18 1,703 +20 6,120 +5
Commercial vehicle finance (£m) 865 +12 1,888 +7 7,471 +6
IT equipment finance (£m) 259 -1 466 -4 2,239 -2
Business equipment finance (£m) 230 +2 626 +14 2,493 +19
Car finance (£m) 1,166 +10 2,370 +7 9,412 +3
Aircraft, ships and rolling stock finance (£m) 54 +148 168 +103 548 +32
 

By channel:

Direct finance (£m) 1,672 +15 3,819 +8 15,161 +6
Broker-introduced finance (£m) 615 +29 1,468 +25 5,438 +16
Sales finance (£m) 1,165 +7 2,354 +6 9,095 +2
 

By product:

Finance leasing (£m) 415 +5 933 +1 4,009 +1
Operating leasing (£m) 873 +13 1,781 +10 6,793 +6
Lease/Hire purchase (£m) 1,820 +15 4,148 +14 16,052 +7
Other finance (£m) 431 -30 1,123 -3 3,982 +6