Thursday, May 24, 2018
Business

Barclays and JP Morgan pick up slack on Provident’s £331m rights issue

Doorstep lender Provident Financial has completed a £331m cash call from investors, it announced this morning.

A deadline for rights issue acceptances passed yesterday at 11am with 96.3 per cent of shareholders backing the capital raise.

The success of the rights issue will come as little surprise to many traders as almost three-quarters (73.4 per cent) of Provident's share capital is in the hands of six institutional investors.

Provident's shares fell almost three per cent as markets opened to just under 670p each.

Investment bankers from Barclays and JP Morgan – the deal's underwriters – will pick up £12.3m of unwanted Provident rights stock.

Provident will hope the finalisation of the rights issue will draw a line under a turbulent last 12 months. The Bradford-based lender angered its vast network of agency staff last spring with an operational overhaul. Workers, many of whom enjoyed the flexibility of working as an agent, were brought in-house and new IT systems were introduced.

Read more: Provident Financial targeted by the world's largest activist investor

The lender was hit by one of the biggest one-day sell-offs in FTSE 100 history last August after revealing home credit collection rates had plummeted in the wake of its changes. In addition, regulators were probing the firm's credit card business and long-term boss Peter Crook exited with immediate effect.

The firm was dumped out of London's blue-chip index as concerns hung over the firm at the level of fines and redress the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) would slap on Provident for the mis-selling of a payment holiday insurance product offered by subsidiary Vanquis.

But with many expecting a £500m rights issue and fines of around £300m, shares rocketed earlier this year with the announcement investors would be diluted by a less-than-expected issuance of £300m after costs. FCA fines and redress against Vanquis and in relation to a separate probe against Provident's car financing arm totalled £200m.

However, Provident is facing a legal claim from Aberdeen Standard in relation to the Vanquis investigation. Last month it emerged the fund management giant was suing Provident alleging stock market announcements prior to August "were false or misleading or, alternatively, the delay in disclosing those matters publicly was dishonest".

Read more: Woodford throws his weight behind Provident… and he had to

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