Provident shares up 8% on recovery plan news

Malcolm Le May

Shares of embattled Bradford-based subprime lender Provident Financial rose about 8% on Wednesday after it said in a trading statement its recovery plan is on track and that its home credit business “has delivered a good collections performance during the critical first quarter trading period.”

The trading statement covers the period from January 1 to May 8.

Last August, Provident Financial shares plummeted more than 70% after it issued a second profit warning in roughly two months and said then CEO Peter Crook would leave the company and its dividend would be suspended.

Provident Financial had suffered major problems with its move from using self-employed agents to directly employed debt collection agents called CEMs or “customer experience managers.”

In February 2018, Provident Financial announced a £331 million rights issue — a sale of shares — to increase its capital by more than a third.

On Wednesday, Provident Financial CEO Malcolm Le May said: “I am very pleased with the operational and financial performance of the group during the first quarter of the year and we are on-track to deliver results for 2018 in line with internal plans.

“I would like to thank all our employees for their hard work and efforts in delivering our continued recovery.

“The successful completion of the rights issue provides a strong capital base and ensures access to the funding that will allow the group’s businesses to further develop their market-leading positions.

“We are making good progress in strengthening the group’s governance framework, improving the relationship with our regulators and implementing the changes necessary to our culture to place the customer firmly at the heart of our strategy.

“This will provide the basis for delivering attractive and sustainable returns to shareholders.”

Provident Financial said each of the group’s three businesses started 2018 with positive momentum.

The firm said Vanquis Bank has “delivered profits ahead of plan in the first quarter as a result of robust margins and operational leverage.”

Provident Financial added: “The recovery plan is on track and the home credit business has delivered a good collections performance during the critical first quarter trading period …

Moneybarn has delivered strong new business volumes and, although impairment has continued to track modestly above expectations, lead indicators show that delinquency trends are now improving …

“The process to recruit a new chairman and additional non-executive directors is well underway.”