Aldermore profits double in the run-up to its IPO

Emma Haslett
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The bank is one of a number of "challengers" that sprang up over the financial crisis (Source: Aldermore)

The figures

Pre-tax profits at challenger bank almost doubled to £56.3m in 2014, the bank - which is on the brink of listing on the stock exchange - said this morning.

You can see why it wants to list: deposits jumped 29 per cent to £4.5bn, while net lending to businesses and home owners up 42 per cent to £4.8bn. Loans to small and medium-sized businesses rose 32 per cent to £2.2bn, with residential mortgages growing 53 per cent to £2.6bn.

The only fly in the ointment was the price it paid for pulling out of its IPO last September. That cost it £6m, although its cost to income ratio still improved, falling to 60 per cent last year. Not bad.

Why it's interesting

The bank is one of a raft of challenger banks which sprang up during the financial downturn, promising customers better service and better odds of getting a loan than traditional banks, who at the time were fiercely reining in their lending.

Last year, Aldermore almost listed, before a sudden onset of skittishness in the market caused it to backtrack on its plans. Meanwhile, after a brief hiatus rival Virgin Money pushed on with its own listing, and did pretty well out of it.

Despite today's figures, it seems Aldermore is treading cautiously: although it was valued at £800m last year, this morning we reported it's likely its stock will go at a 25 per cent discount to that figure, valuing it at around £600m.

What Aldermore said

Philip Monks, Aldermore's charismatic founder and chief exec:

Our confidence in the outlook is reflected in our improved guidance. In 2015, we again expect to grow net loans in line with the current nominal run rate.
We will continue to leverage our legacy-free operating platform and I now expect to deliver a cost/ income ratio of below 40 per cent by the end of 2017.

In short

Investors only need to glance at Virgin Money's share price, which has risen as much as 10 per cent since its IPO, to understand why challenger banks are an enticing prospect.

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