City File: FNFC poised to call on shareholders

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FIRST National Finance Corporation, the consumer finance group, is poised to launch a pounds 40m rights issue when it announces its full-year results on Friday.

While its shares have soared from 14p in September to a high of 68p last week, before closing at 60p, the group is expected to issue convertible preference shares to strengthen a stretched balance sheet and benefit from any recovery in consumer confidence.

FNFC's losses last year are expected to be around pounds 30m, not as bad as some had feared. But this will further deplete shareholders' funds, which stood at pounds 186m when last disclosed, compared with a loan book of pounds 1.4bn.