S&U shares up as its loans stay in demand over Christmas

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The Independent Online

Shares in the doorstep lender and motor finance group S&U rose more than 8 per cent yesterday, after it said results for the year which ended last month would "significantly exceed market expectations".

S&U, which supplies loans to more than 140,000 households, said demand in its Home Credit division had been good over Christmas and January. Meanwhile, the motor finance business, which trades under the Advantage Finance name, said it had overcome the traditional lull in the second-hand car market usually seen in the winter months, with the past two months showing a substantial increase over the previous year.

It has raised its targets for the year and predicts another record result. The group also said its balance sheet has improved, with gearing down to 35 per cent from 43 per cent a year earlier. It plans to raise the dividend by 20 per cent and the shares rose 52.5p to 685p on the news.