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Woodford ups stake in Provident Financial

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Woodford ups stake in Provident Financial

Embattled star fund manager Neil Woodford has upped his stake in Provident Financial last night as the company starts to rally.

According to a regulatory filing, Woodford took his holding from 19.1% to 20.1%.

Provident Financial’s share price has near doubled since its 66% fall in on 22nd of August, after the beleaguered doorstep lender reassured investors its recovery plan was on the right path.

In September, Woodford apologised to investors for the recent poor performance of his flagship funds. His numbers have been a few individual stocks issues, with Provident Financial being hit by the departue of its chief executive and the news of a Financial Conduct Authority probe into the company in August.

At the time, Woodford branded the news 'disappointing' but stated then he believed the business would recover.

'I believe Provident Financial shares started the day undervalued, and have become even more so as a result of the market’s reaction to today’s news,' he said.

'I am hugely disappointed by what has happened to the consumer credit division but I continue to believe that it will, ultimately get back on track. This business has been around for more than a century and I believe it will be around for many decades to come.'

Elsewhere, Woodford has cut his stake in speciality insurance and reinsurance business Lancashire Holdings, as the group is anticipated to take a beating from recent natural disasters.

Woodford took his holding in the business from just 14.72% to 7.68% or 15.4 million shares worth £103 million at a price of 671.50p, down 8.09% over the last three months. The shares are mainly held in his Woodford Equity Income fund.

Lancashire Holdings is an insurance company covering oil rigs, ships and aircraft.

The firm recently stated hurricanes in the Caribbean and the US, as well as the earthquakes in Mexico, will cost it between $106 million and $212 million.

The FTSE 250 company added, however, the estimates fall within its modelled loss ranges.

Group chief executive Alex Maloney said: ‘The extensive news coverage turned our thoughts to those whose lives, livelihoods and businesses were devastated by these forces of nature. As we assess the financial impact of these losses for Lancashire, these events illustrate the value of our products to our clients.’

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Neil Woodford
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