Sub-prime lender Amigo valued at 1.3 billion pounds in London IPO

LONDON (Reuters) - British sub-prime lender Amigo Holdings AMGO.L listed on the London stock market on Friday in a flotation that valued the business at 1.3 billion pounds ($1.7 billion) and raised almost 330 million pounds for its founder and other managers.

Amigo, which issues high-interest loans that are usually guaranteed by a borrower’s family or friends, priced its shares at 275 pence in the initial public offering (IPO) and the stock was trading up 5.8 percent at 291 pence by 1002 GMT.

Bournemouth-based Amigo, led by CEO Glen Crawford, offers loans of up to 10,000 pounds to borrowers with weak credit histories at an average annual percentage rate of 49.9 percent.

Founder James Benamor formed the company in 2005, six years after setting up his first loans brokerage business Richmond Group at the age of only 21.

The entrepreneur, who once appeared on British television show “The Secret Millionaire”, stepped down as CEO of Amigo in 2015 and Richmond is now a holding company for his investments.

Friday’s share sale raised 326.8 million pounds to be split between Richmond and Amigo directors, managers and employees.

JP Morgan, RBC Capital Markets and Macquarie Capital managed the IPO.

Reporting by Ben Martin; Editing by David Goodman