Sub-prime lender Provident Financial has pledged to repay employee furlough cash to the Government as it said first-half losses were not as bad as feared amid the pandemic.
The group swung to an underlying pre-tax loss of £32.6m for the first six months of 2020, against profits of £80.4m a year ago.
Its doorstep lending arm took the hardest hit, with losses more than doubling to £37.6m, though its Vanquis Bank and Moneybarn businesses remained profitable.
The group booked impairment charges of £240.3m, though it said losses were better than it had internally braced for at the start of the coronavirus lockdown.
Malcolm Le May, chief executive of Provident Financial, said: “The first six months of this year have been the most difficult and testing in my career.
“However, I am very pleased with how well the group has responded to the challenges brought about by Covid-19 and how effectively we have operated.”
He added: “Financial and operational performance were better than expected, and therefore we have decided to repay all furlough support to the Government. We believe this is the right thing to do.”