Markets in brief sees £40m hike in revenue for chemicals company; Provident proves profitable but warns of Brexit woes

SALES at Croda International increased by more than £40m compared to last year.

The Snaith-based chemicals company also reported pre-tax profits up by £10m to £145.1 for the half year to 30 June 2016.

Steve Foots, Croda’s chief executive, commented: “Despite subdued demand in the first half of 2016, we have delivered a strong bottom line performance, improving our operating margin through a richer product mix, whilst also increasing profit and the dividend.

“Our strategy is driving more protected innovation, closer customer intimacy and a greater focus on key technologies for future growth.

“Although we remain cautious given the continued economic uncertainty, we expect to deliver further top and bottom line progress in the second half of 2016. The Group is on track to deliver our expectations for the full year, in constant currency terms, while Sterling weakness will benefit our reported results.”

PROVIDENT FINANCIAL has seen strong growth in profitability.

Pre-tax profits at the Bradford-based group grew to £165.4m up from £111.1m for the first half of the year.

Revenues grew this year to £571.6m up from £555.3m in the six month to June the year before.

It has been a transformative time for the sector, following the announcement of a conversion to FCA regulation of the consumer credit industry which commenced in April 2014.

Provident’s CCD and Moneybarn brands obtained interim permissions under the new regime.

Provident did however say that weak GDP growth and instability in the markets following the Brexit vote would likely impact on them in 2017.

Peter Crook, chief executive, commented: “I am pleased to report that all three businesses have delivered excellent performances through the first half of the year and contributed to the strong increase in adjusted profit before tax of 17.6%.

“Credit quality in all three businesses is very sound and the group is fully funded through to May 2018 reflecting the group’s substantial funding capacity and strong liquidity position.

“This, together with the strong start to the second half, provides the foundation for delivering good quality growth for 2016 as a whole, continuing to deliver on the group’s medium-term growth objectives as well as trading soundly through any slowdown that may emerge from the uncertainties currently present in the UK macroeconomic outlook.”