Paragon Group of Companies Reports "Significant Progress"

LONDON -- Paragon  (LSE: PAG  )  -- the provider of specialist finance for things like Buy-to-Let loans for landlords and property investors -- published its half-year results to the end of March 2013 this morning.

The company reported that 102.3 million pounds of buy-to-let loans had been advanced, up almost 15% on 2012's 89.2 million pounds, with a further 241.2 million pounds in the pipeline, and a "significant increase" expected in second-half lending.

Underlying pre-tax profit grew 10%, to 48.2 million pounds, on a total operating income that had risen 5.5%, to 86.8 million pounds. Earnings per share were up 10.5%, at 12.6 pence.

In line with the company's "progressive dividend policy," the board has recommended a 60% increase in the interim dividend, bringing it to 2.4 pence per share from 2012's 1.5 pence.

Commenting on the results, Nigel Terrington, chief executive of Paragon, said:

The Group has made significant progress in the six months to 31 March 2013. Buy-to-let lending activity has increased considerably and strong growth in lending volumes is expected in the second half of the year. Idem Capital has increased its portfolio through further investments in the period, which are expected to contribute to second half profits, and is actively engaged in reviewing potential acquisitions. 

The new retail bond programme and the increased warehouse capacity provide access to funding to support future growth in Idem Capital and Paragon Mortgages. With a return to consumer finance lending in development, the Board is confident that the Group is well positioned for future growth.

While it suffered very badly following the financial crisis of 2007-08, losing 95% of its value in just 18 months, Paragon's share price has made great strides in recent times -- it's up 130% on this time last year and 33% so far in 2013.

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