- Takeover target Provident Financial swung to an annual profit and resumed dividend payments, after a drop in bad loan charges offset a fall in revenue.

Pre-tax profit for the year through December amounted to £90.7m, compared to a loss of £147.9m on-year.

Adjusted pre-tax profit rose 82% to £153.5m, even as revenue fell 6% to £1.12bn.

The sub-prime lender, which is trying ward off a hostile takeover bid from rival Non-Standard Financial, declared a dividend of 10p per share.

'Today's results are testament to the immense progress that the group has made over the past 18 months,' chief executive Malcolm Le May said.

'We have delivered against each of the objectives we set ourselves for 2018 and have strengthened our relationship with our customers, regulators and other stakeholders.'

'We aim to build on the considerable momentum within the group in 2019 and beyond, with a focus on delivering attractive and sustainable returns to our shareholders as we execute on our strategy.'

'We continue to believe that the offer made by NSF is not in the interests of all shareholders.'

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