Provident Financial back in profit amid takeover fight

Embattled Bradford-based subprime lender Provident Financial, which has rejected an unsolicited £1.3 billion all-share offer from smaller rival Non-Standard Finance plc (NSF), on Wednesday reported stronger results for the year ended December 31, 2018.

Provident Financial said it made a pre-tax profit of £90.7 million last year compared with a £147.9 million loss a year earlier.

Revenue, however, slipped to £1.12 billion from £1.19 billion.

The company restored its 10p per share final dividend after cancelling its shareholder payout in 2017.

Provident has been making a huge effort to improve its performance after a botched restructuring of its home credit business two years ago.

Provident Financial CEO Malcolm Le May said: “Today’s results are testament to the immense progress that the group has made over the past 18 months, having  delivered adjusted profit before tax growth of 82.3% in 2018.

“I am very pleased to announce that, in line with our commitment at the time of the rights issue, the board have declared a nominal dividend of 10.0p per share for 2018. 

“We have delivered against each of the objectives we set ourselves for 2018 and have strengthened our relationship with our customers, regulators and other stakeholders. 

“We aim to build on the considerable momentum within the group in 2019 and beyond, with a focus on delivering attractive and sustainable returns to our shareholders as we execute on our strategy.

“We continue to believe that the offer made by NSF is not in the interests of all shareholders.”

Analysts at stockbroking firm Goodbody said the fight between Provident and NSF looks set to continue for “some time” and there is still a good chance the deal may go ahead.