Debt-buying giant Encore Capital Group officials announced Monday that the company is acquiring a controlling stake in Baycorp, one of Australia's largest debt resolution companies. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Encore, based in San Diego, will purchase a 50.25% interest in Baycorp to grow operations in Australia and New Zealand. Baycorp's current owners, Oceania Capital Partners and SAS Trustee Corporation, are reducing their ownership levels but will remain as shareholders and directors of the company.
There is approximately $330 million of capital deployed in the Australia market each year, which includes not only consumer debt but also the banking, energy and cable sectors, according to Encore's announcement. The figure makes it an estimated one-third the size of the U.S. market.
Australia reportedly has a robust market where the banks sell debt regularly in a constructive regulatory environment. The market is estimated to grow at approximately 5% per year. The overall contingency collections market size is approximately $400 million.
"Through Baycorp, we now have access to two new markets that are showing strong growth and have promising opportunities for both consolidation and diversification," said Kenneth A. Vecchione, Encore's president and CEO. "Our vision is that Baycorp will be the number one or two player in Australia to complement its current leadership position in New Zealand, and we are excited to support the company in rapidly expanding its growth strategy in the region."
Encore employs more than 5,600 people and collected more than $1.6 billion in 2014 alone, according to the company. The Baycorp acquisition expands Encore's global reach to 13 countries.
Baycorp, within its industry, has the largest customer default database in Australia, with $118 million in estimated remaining collections. The company has a vibrant debt collection business and it is one of the preferred insource and outsource companies for the Australian government."Our vision is to be the leading debt resolution specialist in the region, and as such, we believe it's important that our teams in Australia and New Zealand have access to global innovation and best practices. This deal, and Encore's international networks, provides just that," said Grant Jorey, Baycorp's Group CEO and Group Managing Director (Australia/New Zealand). "We are excited to join the Encore family of companies and to benefit from the financial, strategic and operational support of a genuine world leader, which will help us accelerate Baycorp's growth and market-leading position."
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently imposed an enforcement action against Encore and ordered the company to stop reselling and collecting debts it cannot verify, among other mandated reforms to business practices.