The price of shares in FTSE 250 lender Provident Financial (LON:PFG) has risen by 18.34% to 231.59p (as of 14:10 BST) despite booking a loss before tax for the six months ended 30th June. However, management said that performance had been better than feared in the plans created at the start of lockdown. The company is not planning to recommend an interim dividend but said that payments would be resumed once conditions normalise.
CEO Malcolm le May commented: “Looking forward, our strong financial position will mean that we can keep helping, and responsibly lending to, our customers, many of whom are key workers, as we, and they, face the challenge of furlough support ending and unemployment rising in the coming months. Provident Financial has performed robustly in the first half of the year because we focused on our customers, colleagues and strengthening our balance sheet for the challenges the pandemic would bring. In fact financial and operational performance were better than expected, and therefore we have decided to repay all furlough support to the government. We believe this is the right thing to do, and on behalf of customers have also advocated the government should support wider funding for the sector. Our market will grow due to the pandemic, but at present it appears the supply of credit into the market is decreasing, which cannot be a good outcome for customers, nor a public policy one for the UK“.