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H&T Group jumps as profits surge 45%, helped by rising gold prices

The pawnbroker reported a pre-tax profit of £20.1mln, up 45.7% on the prior year, with the company’s pledge book increased by 38.8% to £72.2mln

H&T GROUP PLC - H&T Group jumps as profits surge 45%, helped by rising gold prices

H&T GROUP PLC (LON:HAT) reported a surge in profits for 2019 as its business was lifted by acquisitions and what its chief executive said was a “beneficial gold price”.

For the year ended 31 December, the pawnbroker reported a pre-tax profit of £20.1mln, up 45.7% on the prior year, with the company’s pledge book (the value of pawned items) increased by 38.8% to £72.2mln.

WATCH: H&T Group makes strong start to 2020 as it focuses on bedding in new stores

The company also said during the year it had added 70 new stores and 159 pledge books to its operation following the acquisitions of Money Shop and Albermarle & Bond, which it bought in July and October 2019 respectively.

H&T had also seen strong returns from precious metal scrappage as a result of high gold prices, which over the year have risen to around US$1,663 an ounce from around US$1,300 at the start of 2019.

Looking ahead, CEO John Nichols said the firm was improving its retail offering through “an expanded range of new jewellery and the development both of click-and-collect and online sales”.

"The group's growing momentum demonstrates the success of our strategy and the demand for our pawnbroking and related products remains strong. We look forward with confidence whilst remaining mindful of the external factors and current macro uncertainties", Nichols added.

CEO stresses 'business as usual' despite coronavirus

Speaking to Proactive, Nichols also sought to reassure investors around the company’s preparedness for any issues arising from the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

“As a business, we’ve had to dust off our disaster recovery plans and get as many people to work from home as possible”, Nichols said, adding that while the company may face some disruption to its foreign exchange business as a result of lower numbers of travellers it was a situation that the firm “just has to get through”.

“We’re ready for it. We’ve got extra equipment in place and plans for store cover”, Nichols said, although he pointed out that it was currently “business as usual” at the company and that “nothing will stop” as a result of the outbreak.

The shares jumped 16% to 354.3p in lunchtime trading on Tuesday.

--Adds CEO coronavirus comments and updates share price--

Quick facts: H&T GROUP PLC

Price: 312 GBX

LSE:HAT
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £124.38 m
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