The first six months of 2019 saw the H&T Group record pre-tax profits of £6.8 million, up 7.9% from the same period in 2018.
The firm’s operating profit before non-recurring expenses was up 16% to £8.7 million, while it also reduced net debt by £2.1 million.
Amongst the operating highlights listed by the company for the period were a growth in pawnbroking, increases in customer lending, new customers, improved management of its customer interactions, and the planned acquisition of 65 trading stores and 46 pledge books from the Money Shop.
H&T Group chief executive, John Nichols, says: “We have made a good start to the year due to the resilient nature of our product set, our investment in people, and our digital initiatives. A strengthening gold price is helpful to our business. PBT is up nearly 8% to £6.8m, and revenue is up £1.5m, primarily driven by increased pawnbroking, personal lending and retail activity.
“Against this solid background, in July 2019 we completed the acquisition of 65 trading stores and bought 29 pledge books from the Money Shop, all of which have been integrated into the Group (we had previously acquired 17 books for £0.4m in the period).
“To facilitate this acquisition, in July we raised £6.0m of additional equity funding by way of an accelerated bookbuild placing, having renewed our £35.0m credit facility with Lloyds. The total acquisition price was £11.0m, which included taking possession of £6.0m of pledged assets, £1.0m of cash, a freehold property and trading fixtures and fittings, together with 241 employees.”
He continues: “We can be confident of the success of this important transaction as a result of the investment in people and processes made over many years. The acquired stores conduct similar business and will geographically complement our existing store estate.
“With the application of H&T’s appropriate capital, staffing support and management, and with the expansion of pledge business and the introduction of our personal lending products the investment will provide significant value to shareholders.
“We will further leverage this expanded store estate by continuing to develop and invest in digital multi-channel capability.”