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Woodford pours another £2.3m into alternative lender

Woodford pours another £2.3m into alternative lender

Neil Woodford has snapped up more shares in alternative short-term lender, Non-Standard Finance (NSF). 

According to a regulatory filing, Citywire A-rated Woodford's (pictured) eponymous investment firm acquired a little over four million shares in NSF. 

The transaction, which took place on the 12 April, lifted his firm's total interest in the business to 75,430,933 shares, representing a 23.8% stake. 

Based on a closing share price of 58p on 12 April, the value of the latest investment was £2.3 million.

Shares in the business have since risen to 59.25p, giving Woodford's total holding a value of £44.6 million.  

Woodford Investment Management has backed NSF - which operates through four divisions: Central, Loans at Home, Everyday Loans and Trusttwo - since its £100 million listing by former Provident Financial chair John van Kuffeler in February 2015.  

At the time of its listing NSF said it saw a growing market in the UK for alternative finance, with 12 million people failing to meet the credit criteria of mainstream lenders.

'Following the financial crisis a significant part of the UK's population cannot gain access to mainstream financial services' van Kuffeler said.

'A number of entrepreneurial start-ups began to fill the gap in the market, but many of these firms lack the capability to reach their full potential.' 

Full-year numbers released by NSF last month revealed it intends to pay a maiden dividend of 1.2p.   

It also showed a huge swing into a £13.8 million profit in 2016, following a loss of £0.5 million in the previous year. 

'The past year has been transformational for the group,' van Kuffeler told the market.

'We completed the acquisition of businesses representing 80% of the current group and have become a significant player in the market with a combined loan book of £165 million (before fair value adjustments), serving 137,000 customers through a network of almost 90 branches across the UK.'

Brokers lined up to praise NSF's performance. Peel Hunt reiterated its buy rating on the stock, with Shore Capital and JP Morgan Chase also issuing bullish notes in response to the numbers.

  

 

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