Pawnbroker chain Ramsdens reveals sparkling profits

Ramsdens has 44 branches across Scotland. Picture: Contributed
Ramsdens has 44 branches across Scotland. Picture: Contributed
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Pawnbroker Ramsdens Holdings has seen profits leap in its latest financial year, a period it described as “transformational” and saw it float on the Alternative Investment Market.

The company’s share price closed up more than 5 per cent at 132p yesterday after it posted a year-on-year increase of 73 per cent in pre-tax profit to reach £4 million in the 12 months to 31 March, “comfortably ahead of the board’s initial expectations”.

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Group revenue at the Middlesbrough-based business, which has 44 stores in Scotland and 127 altogether in the UK, was up 15 per cent to £34.5m.

Ramsdens chief executive Peter Kenyon said the 12 months marked “a transformational year for Ramsdens, with the group delivering good growth across all four of its key business segments”. These comprise foreign currency exchange, pawnbroking loans, precious metals buying and selling, and retailing of second-hand and new jewellery.

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It saw the highest rate of revenue growth in its retail jewellery sales arm at nearly 25 per cent to reach £5.9m, while pawnbroking was the slowest at 7 per cent to hit £6.1m.

Kenyon also noted the “significant milestone” of the business’ admission to Aim, and Ramsdens said it was “pleased with the strong response to the [IPO], which reflected investors’ recognition of the group’s proven operations and its exciting prospects”.

The business, which opened its first store in 1987, said it served more than 730,000 customers during the financial year. Those in its foreign exchange operations were up 8 per cent to more than 600,000, and in pawnbroking up 14 per cent to in excess of 33,000.

Adjusted basic earnings per share was up by about half to 10.1p and the final dividend was 1.3p. The firm said its directors “intend to adopt a progressive dividend policy to reflect the cash flow generation and earnings potential of the group”.

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Looking ahead, it outlined plans to open more stores, “whilst also appraising potential acquisition and consolidation opportunities”, and said its current financial year has started well.

Kenyon said: “We have made a strong start to the early part of the current year across all core segments. We are about to enter our seasonally important summer period and are confident of making further progress.”

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