Paragon Group has increased asset finance activity to £55.7m (€65.3m) in the first quarter of 2017, up from £17.9m in Q1 2016.

The group acquired Five Arrow Leasing Group from the Rothschild & Co. in November 2015 for £117m, and emphasised that this was the reason for Q1 2016 representing just two months.

Paragon said that the results maintained the post-acquisition growth trend, and expected upgraded business systems, due at the end of the current quarter, to support more growth.

The group also achieved operating profit of £33.1m in the first quarter of 2017.

Nigel Terrington, chief executive of Paragon, said: “The lending growth we have seen in asset finance is encouraging and reflects the increasing diversification of the group.

“Lending across all divisions and the strong growth in the buy-to-let pipeline bodes well for the year as a whole.”

However, despite asset finance growth, overall performance slumped by nearly £80m, falling to £380.7m in Q1 2017, compared with £460.6m the year previous.

This is due in part to the large losses in Paragon’s buy-to-let business, which more than halved from £400.9m to £185.2m year-on-year, which was somewhat offset by gains in other areas.

Paragon said it remained confident about achieving expectations for the year.