June 25, 2020 / 6:41 AM / 9 days ago

UK lender NSF warns of going concern risks as coronavirus hits

(Reuters) - Non-Standard Finance (NSF.L) on Thursday raised doubts on its ability to continue as a going concern, with the coronavirus crisis halting lending and making matters worse for the British lender that was just coming off a failed attempt to buy rival Provident Financial Plc (PFG.L).

“The last 18 months have been difficult and disappointing for Non-Standard Finance with the failure of our offer for Provident Financial,” Chief Executive Officer John van Kuffeler said, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic led to large write-downs in the company’s businesses.

The subprime lender’s loss before tax widened to 76 million pounds for the year ended Dec. 31 from 2.4 million pounds a year earlier, due to goodwill impairment and costs relating to its failed takeover of Provident in June last year.

Since the Provident takeover attempt fell through, NSF had warned on its profits and downgraded its loan book growth targets, causing its share price to plunge nearly 70% in 2019, its worst-ever annual drop.

The coronavirus outbreak that originated in China late last year has since paralysed global economic growth and caused a spike in expected loan defaults for lenders as people grapple with lack of income during the crisis.

NSF, which did not declare a final dividend for the past year, said it was considering issuing new equity to bolster its balance sheet.

The company said overall basic collections in April and May averaged 86% of the level in January and February, and was better than earlier expectations.

Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.

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