Profits up at H&T as pawnbroker describes 'milestone' year
H&T Group announced its preliminary results for the year ended 31 December on Tuesday, reporting an 11.7% improvement in gross profit to £63.8m.
The AIM-traded company said EBITDA was up 32.1% year-on-year at £17.3m, while profit before tax surged 45.4% to £14.1m.
Diluted earnings per share were 48.2% higher than in 2016 at 30.94p, and the board confirmed dividends per share of 10.5p - up 14.1% on a year ago.
On the operational front, H&T said its personal loans saw solid growth, with the net loan book increasing 94.7% to £18.3m.
Its gross pledge book also increased, by 11.6% to £46.1m.
The company’s board said it increased both the concession format and lending on high-value watches for pawnbroking, adding that the est1897.co.uk retail web property had also been “significantly improved and expanded” to include more than 2,000 high-value watches.
H&T also launched its lowest rate personal loan product in May.
“This has been a milestone year for H&T,” said chief executive John Nichols.
“We have produced a strong trading performance which is due in no small part to the initiatives which we have implemented over the past few years.
“We have sought to refine our core operations to ensure that they produce the best possible results, while developing our credit and online propositions.”
Nichols said he was “pleased” that the impact of those efforts was borne out in the results.
“Personal loans and our est1897.co.uk online jewellery sales are particular highlights, and there is significant scope to continue to grow these aspects of the business.
“Over the past few years our marketplace has changed dramatically.”
H&T had adapted to the new environment, Nichols explained, by investing heavily in its staff, diversifying its product suite, building out its online proposition and realigning aspects of its business to reflect the customer base.
“We have also reduced our exposure to gold price volatility.
“Challenges remain, but we can look to the future with growing confidence.”