Provident Financial, a provider of home credit in the UK and Ireland, has posted a pre-tax profit of GBP54m for the first half of 2010, up 1.7% compared to GBP53.1m for the same half of 2009. This result was after absorbing GBP7m of additional interest costs attributable to the increase in the group's funding rates following the successful extension of bank facilities and raising of new debt funding over the last 12 months.

The group’s balance sheet showed modest gearing of 3.2 times in comparison with a bank covenant of five times, undrawn committed bank facilities of GBP328m at the half year and a significant surplus of regulatory capital.

In April 2010, the group further diversified its funding base by raising GBP25m and becoming one of the first to issue a retail bond quoted on the new ORB platform established by the London Stock Exchange.

Average receivables in the first six months of 2010 were similar to the corresponding period in 2009.

Provident Financial’s customer base incraesed 7.3% to 2.3 million during the first half of 2010, compared to 2.1 million in the same half of 2009.

Peter Crook, chief executive at Provident Financial, said: “I am pleased to report half-year results ahead of last year. Whilst home credit customers remain cautious, I am encouraged by the growth in customer numbers of over 5% which will underpin the medium-term growth of the business when market conditions improve.

“In addition, the early action taken to manage margins and costs is paying off and will provide ongoing benefit through the second half of the year. The group’s balance sheet and liquidity are strong and our plans to deliver good quality growth in 2010 remain on track.”