Provident Financial, the FTSE 250 doorstep lender, has reported a good start to the year after its Home Credit business delivered a sound collections performance through the first four months of 2012.
Delinquency levels at Vanquis Bank remain at record lows, the firm said, and the business continues to generate strong growth and margins.
The retail deposits programme at Vanquis continued to run ahead of plan during the first quarter, with deposits taken increasing from £140m to £241m during the period. Headroom on the group's committed debt facilities at March 31st amounted to £337m, which, together with the retail deposits programme at Vanquis Bank, is sufficient to fund maturities and projected growth in the business until May 2015.
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Vanquis has begun piloting a credit card targeted at the non-standard segment of the Polish market in response to its search for new medium term growth opportunities over the past year. The pilot is likely to run for a year and will cost around £3m in 2012.
The group said its funding had been further strengthened during the first quarter of the year, allowing the group to meet its contractual debt maturities and execute in full on its growth plans into 2015.
"The sound collections performance of the Home Credit business through the first four months of 2012 together with the strong growth and returns being delivered by Vanquis Bank leave the group on track to deliver good quality growth in 2012 whilst maintaining a tight approach to extending credit in the current economic environment," Provident's statement said.
The company noted that the higher winter utility bills during the first quarter of the year have resulted in relatively cautious customer and agent behaviour, which is moderating the demand for credit.
The group was keen to point out that for the second consecutive year it has received a maximum rating score of 100 and has been ranked joint first globally amongst financial services companies in the recent FTSE4Good Index Series which measures the environmental, social and governance ratings of around 2,400 publicly listed companies worldwide.
The share price rose 1.63% to 1,187.00p by 13:29, trading above its 52-week (closing price) high, at levels not seen since the year 2000.
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