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MARKET REPORT: Amigo Loans friendless again as it fears for the future


Amigo was hit with another huge sell-off after a surge in complaints pushed it into the red and it warned its financial future is uncertain.

The guarantor lender, branded a ‘legal loan shark’ by MPs, racked up a £38million loss for the year to March 31 after it was forced to set aside £127million for dealing with the cost of customer complaints.

The year before it had made £111million and had pencilled in just £100,000 to placate angry customers.

Sell-off: Guarantor lender, Amigo Loans racked up a £38m loss for the year to March 31 after it was forced to set aside £127m for dealing with the cost of customer complaints

Sell-off: Guarantor lender, Amigo Loans racked up a £38m loss for the year to March 31 after it was forced to set aside £127m for dealing with the cost of customer complaints

The company, which provides loans of up to £10,000 to those with poor credit ratings who can find a friend or relative to step in if they fail to repay it, has said it has enough cash for now.

But, it warned, this could change if complaints keep rolling in or if the outcome of a Financial Conduct Authority probe comes with a large penalty or compensation charges.

The much-delayed results are just the latest in a series of bumps in the road Amigo has experienced since it listed in 2018.

Alongside the numbers, the company announced it will bring in veteran investment banker Jonathan Roe to be Amigo’s chairman next month.

Stock Watch -Touchstone Exploration 

Independent researchers estimate there is much more gas than previously thought in an area Touchstone Exploration is looking to drill in the Trinidadian jungle.

The AIM-listed explorer could reap as much as £638million in revenues from one well by spending just £12.5million to develop it, according to the calculations from the Cascadura project.

Shares in the energy minnow, which have surged 191 per cent so far this year, rose 15.9 per cent, or 9p, to 65.5p.

But elsewhere, founder and majority shareholder James Benamor, who led an unsuccessful coup last month and has been selling 1 per cent of his 60.7 per cent stake in the firm every day, hinted he might be plotting a comeback.

Benamor said: ‘My hands are tied until I get to 10 per cent, but if majority shareholders are regretting their votes, my DMs [direct messages inbox] are open.’

Shares in the company – beset by complaints, a probe and potentially more wrangling between the board and its founder – fell 28.7 per cent, or 2.78p, to 6.92p. 

At the other end of the scale, Country Life, Horse & Hound and PC Gamer publisher Future barrelled to the top of the mid-cap index as customers turned to online reading during lockdown. 

It said trading would be at the top of market forecasts and the integration of TI Media, a group it bought last October, was progressing well.

Future closed up 13.9 per cent, or 168p, at 1378p.

Despite Amigo and Future’s dramatic moves, it was a muted start to the week across London’s two main indexes. 

The FTSE 100 fell 0.5 per cent, or 28.78 points, to 6261.52, while the FTSE 250 inched higher 0.2 per cent, or 37.92 points, to 17385.85.

Superdry shares were boosted by the arrival of an activist investor known for encouraging retailers to spruce themselves up.

Its stock rose 5.6 per cent, or 6.3p, to 118p as hedge fund Gatemore disclosed it has gradually built up a 3.37 per cent holding in the group.

Gatemore, which has previously set its attention on French Connection and Moss Bros, reckons Superdry’s casual clothing will be a hit with shoppers who have become accustomed to wearing comfier and less formal attire during lockdown.

Gatemore also supports co-founder and boss Julian Dunkerton’s vision for the company, which he is trying to turn around since he returned to the board in a coup last year.

Shareholders in the world’s largest-listed mining company BHP, on the other hand, barely batted an eye as Norway’s central bank upped its stake in the group.

Norges previously owned 4.1 per cent of the firm but crossed the 5 per cent threshold – after which the size of a holding must be made public – last week. Its stock finished slightly down 0.1 per cent, or 1.4p, to 1798p.

Elsewhere in the mining sector, diamond-watchers had their eyes fixed on Botswana.

Petra Diamonds slid 3.3 per cent, or 0.05p, to 1.57p, after it agreed to sell three prospecting licences in the southern African country to the aptly named Botswana Diamonds (up 6.7 per cent, or 0.05p, to 0.8p) for £240,000.

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