(Reuters) - The Paragon Group of Companies Plc, the parent of buy-to-let lender Paragon Mortgages, reported a 21 percent rise in underlying pre-tax profit in the first half of its fiscal year, benefiting from increased loan portfolios and demand for buy-to-let loans.
The lender has performed strongly during the economic downturn with buy-to-let mortgages in demand as landlords take advantage of a booming rental market while first-time home buyers struggle to get on the housing ladder.
The FTSE-250 component reported an underlying pre-tax profit of 57.9 million pounds for the six months ended March 31, up from 47.9 million a year earlier and said it expected additional growth opportunities in the buy-to-let market in the future.
Paragon, which manages about 10 billion pounds worth of loan assets, said it granted loans worth 269.3 million pounds during the first-half, up from 102.3 million pounds the year before.
The company raised its interim dividend by 25 percent to 3 pence per share.
Shares in the Solihull-based company closed on Monday at 350.1 pence.
Reporting by Aastha Agnihotri in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier