H&T Group reports strong year amid increased pawnbroking demand | News Direct

H&T Group reports strong year amid increased pawnbroking demand

H&T Group PLC
News release by H&T Group PLC

facebook icon linkedin icon twitter icon pinterest icon email icon London, UK | March 12, 2024 12:24 PM Eastern Daylight Time


H&T Group PLC (AIM:HAT), the UK's largest pawnbroker, has attrributed strong full-year results to increased demand for pawnbroking services amid economic conditions and limited borrowing options.

In an interview with Proactive's Stephen Gunnion, CEO Chris Gillespie highlighted that their typical customer borrows a small sum, usually £200 or less, with a noticeable rise in business owners using pawnbroking services for working capital or investment. January 2024 marked a record month for lending demand, Gillespie told Proactive.

The company recently acquired Maxcroft Securities to enhance its service for business customers, leveraging Maxcroft's specialization in loans secured against personal assets for business purposes. The acquisition aims to build on the already existing portion of H&T's lending book dedicated to business loans, spread across 280 shops.

Financially, H&T Group experienced a 42% increase in post-tax profits and a 28% growth in its pledge book. Despite facing challenges in retail, especially over the Christmas period, the company managed to grow its core business and increased the dividend by 13%. It addressed the retail challenge by adapting to customer preferences for lower-priced, pre-owned items, which typically offer higher margins.

Additionally, H&T Group ended the period with a strong balance sheet, with a net asset value of £177 million, up 8%, and around £30 million in net debt, indicating modest gearing. The company anticipates continued robust demand for its pawnbroking services and sees positive momentum in its foreign currency and holiday money business going into 2024. Growth strategies include organic expansion and potential acquisitions, though opportunities similar to Max Croft are rare.


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