Manx Financial on the prowl

Manx Financial is looking for takeovers in insurance and banking as it taps investors for £1.8 million.

Formerly overstretched Manx Financial Group is looking for takeovers in insurance and banking as it taps investors for £1.8 million.

Steered by chief executive officer Denham Eke, chairman of Betinternet who replaced vehicle insurance luminary Arron Banks at the helm after aggressive expansion led to problems, AIM-quoted Manx Financial is raising £1.8 million at 9p to expand its successful retail banking operations in the Isle of Man and pinpoint acquisition opportunities in banking and insurance. The company, whose 75 year-old Conister Bank Manx-licensed banking arm is headed by ex-Ministry of Defence nuclear weapons programme luminary and former Alliance & Leicester international chief Simon Hull, is heading back towards eventual profitability after slashing losses last year from £18.3 million to £2.6 million.

The bank, supported by an overwhelmingly Manx deposit base, insists it has avoided the toxic lure of fancy derivatives and sub-prime mortgages and is thought by local observers to be achieving margins of 8 per cent and more in asset-based lending to small businesses. Last year, Conister’s card services division cut its losses from £3.5 million to £400,000 and moved into the black in the second half.

Bulls reckon Manx Financial could make as much as £4 million pre-tax in the next financial year, helped by exploiting its Isle of Man tax attractions for rich non-domiciled British clients. Floated at 25p 15 years ago, the shares have had a dreadful history, plunging as low as 6p within the past year, but now at the equivalent of 8.5p, they offer handsome, albeit speculative, recovery possibilities for strong-nerved punters.

Nick Britton

Nick Britton

Nick was the Managing Editor for when it was owned by Vitesse Media, before moving on to become Head of Investment Group and Editor at What Investment and thence to Head of Intermediary...

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