Float plans for doorstep lender

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A DOORSTEP lender with 200,000 customers in the UK has announced its intention to float, making it the region’s first company to go public this year.

West Yorkshire-based Morses Club, owned by RCapital, which once invested in the Little Chef chain, is looking to float on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM).

It said it expects to grow by expanding its existing operations and making acquisitions but did not specify how much capital it wants to raise on joining the market.

Morses is owned through Perpignon Limited, whose majority shareholder is RCapital founder Jamie Constable. Mr Constable and his wife Susanna own a 53% stake in Morses Club while Peter Ward, RCapital COO and co-founder has a 22% interest.

Originally a general drapery store in Swindon owned by Levi Morse, Morses Club’s history goes back more than 130 years.

Gradually, the business, which merged with Shopacheck Financial Services in 2014, expanded to encompass several department stores throughout the surrounding areas.

Because of the success of these stores, Morse also began employing ‘travellers’ who called in on people in their homes to sell goods on weekly credit. This decision laid the foundations for the weekly home collected credit services now offered by Morses Club.

The business has more than 100 branches throughout the UK offering cash loans of between £100 and £1000. It works with 2,500 self-employed agents, who deliver cash loans to doors and visit customers at home to collect repayments.

In its accounts filed at Companies House in December for the 53-week period to February 28, 2015, pre-tax profit came in at £4.3m while the business reported a 9.8% revenue increase to £20.3m.

The board of directors includes the University of Sheffield-educated global co-chairman of law firm DLA Piper Sir Nigel Knowles, who is also Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership chairman. He was appointed chairman at Zeus Capital in September 2014.

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