Performance improves at Non-Standard Finance as firm stalks Provident

Doorstep lender Non-Standard Finance (NSF) has reported an improved annual performance as it continues its pursuit of rival Provident.

The group saw a 47% rise in revenue to £158.8 million in 2018, while pre-tax losses narrowed from £13 million to £1.6 million.

Normalised profit, however, rose by 12% to £14.8 million as its loan book swelled across all divisions.

Total net loans were up 29% to £310.3 million in the period and the impairment rate fell from 27.1% to 25.6%.

NSF said that its underlying results were ahead of consensus forecasts, with operating profits leaping 413% to £19.5 million.

The group reiterated its belief that a £1.3 billion takeover of Provident will “unlock substantial value for all shareholders”.

However, on Thursday the City watchdog wrote to NSF warning that its proposed takeover could break consumer protection rules.

Philip Salter, director of retail lending at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), said any transformation plans would need to adhere to regulations after highlighting a number of concerns.

NSF chief executive John van Kuffeler, a former Provident man, is leading the takeover charge.

He said on Friday regarding the NSF results: “2018 saw the group continue to make good progress. It also marked the conclusion of a period of significant investment in the group and structural change, so that we are now delivering sustained earnings growth.

“The fundamental drivers of our business remain robust: we are delivering strong loan book growth whilst maintaining tight control over impairment and have high risk-adjusted margins in all three business divisions.

“Having made a good start to the current year we remain confident in the full-year outlook.”

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