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H&T looks to future with confidence as loan book grows

Snapshot

  • H&T runs around 250 pawnbroking outlets

  • Increasingly developing an online offering

  • Acquired pledge books from bust rival Albermarle & Bond

H&T

Quick facts: H&T GROUP PLC

Price: 372 GBX

LSE:HAT
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £147.82 m
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The group's performance over the past three years demonstrates the continuing success of our strategy to access more customers and markets
John Nichols, chief executive
 

What H&T does:

H&T GROUP PLC (LON:HAT) is a UK pawnbroker and financial services firm.

Its pawnbroking business buys and sells used jewellery, watches, gold, handbags and art.  

The group also provides in-store personal loans of up to £5,000 and sells foreign currency to holidaymakers.

How it's doing

Increased pawnbroking, personal lending and retail activity drove the first-half increase in pre-tax profits.

Profit before tax (PBT) rose to £6.8mln in the first half of 2019 from £6.3mln the year before on revenue that rose to £70.0mln from £68.5mln.

The group said it saw growth in its pawnbroking business, an increase in customer lending and a rise in the number of new customers.

The relatively new foreign currency side of the business is also growing, driven by improved systems and in-store displays.

The net pledge book, including accrued interest, increased by 3.8% to £53.8mln from £47.8mln at the end of June 2018.

The demand for small-sum, short-term cash loans remains strong, H&T asserted.

Net debt narrowed to £11.6mln from £16.8mln a year earlier.

Since the end of the reporting period, the group has acquired 65 sites previously occupied by a competitor company, The Money Shop, thereby increasing its estate to 248 stores.

In October, H&T acquired 113 pledge books from bust rival Albemarle & Bond (A&B) for £8mln in cash, guaranteeing its customers can retrieve their goods.

What the CEO says:

Chief executive John Nichols said the development of the group’s digital strategy, which is focused on complementing the store estate, has been an important feature along with investments in improving customer experience and partnerships.

 "The group's performance over the past three years demonstrates the continuing success of our strategy to access more customers and markets,” he added. 

Inflexion points:

  • The AIM-listed company has been investing in its digital presence as more customers shift to online.
  • As part of its investments in technology, the group has upgraded and revamped its pre-owned jewellery retail website www.est1897.co.uk and the main H&T site.
  • H&T said demand for its products remains strong and it “looks forward to the future with confidence”.

 

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