Hard-hit Loanmakers in £1.86m share issue

Stock market-listed master broker Loanmakers is calling on shareholders to help it raise £1.86m of funding to safeguard its future.

The broker was hit hard by the withdrawal from the market of secured loan lender Firstplus in August and has since struggled in the wake of the credit crunch.

It is offering existing shareholders up to 745,715,976 ordinary shares at 0.25p per share.

For every share owned, shareholders will be entitled to 24 shares at the special sale price. For example, a shareholder with eight shares in the firm would be entitled to eight x 24 shares at 0.25p.

The £1.86m will be underwritten by the company’s chief executive, Ges Ratcliffe, who will also take up his full entitlement under the open offer to existing investors.

The funds will provide the company with sufficient resources to reduce its debt and provide general working capital for the firm’s plans.

Its preliminary results for the year ended March 31 2008 showed the period was extremely challenging for the group, leading to pre-tax losses of £8.4m compared with a £7.8m profit in 2007. Revenues fell to £23.5m compared with £29.8m last year.

Steve Walker, managing director of Promise Solutions, says the departure of Firstplus has left a big hole in the secured loan market and firms must adapt to the new circumstances.

He says: “A number of brokers have suffered with Firstplus pulling out of the market. The question now is what will replace it.

“Businesses are starting to consolidate and cut costs. If a firm is looking for extra funding it will need a strong business model to ensure its survival in the prevailing conditions.”

He adds: “If I was a shareholder in Loanmakers I would want to know what its plan is.”