* Founder Benamor vows to buy at 20 pence per share
* Lender embroiled in watchdog probe sees profits plunge
* Shares climb as investors eye takeover bid
(Recasts, adds shares)
By Lawrence White
LONDON, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Shares of Britain's Amigo
Holdings rose more than 30% on Friday after its founder
and former Chief Executive James Benamor, who has been embroiled
in a bitter spat with the lender, called on private investors to
back his reinstatement.
Benamor in a tweet published late on Thursday said he had
made an irrevocable bid for 29% of the company at 20 pence per
share, to be executed if he is appointed as chief executive.
Benamor had stepped back from running Amigo after it listed
in 2018, but has been embroiled in a public row with the
company’s management over strategy since late last year.
The lender, which provides loans to borrowers who struggle
to obtain credit from mainstream lenders if a friend or family
member can act as a guarantor for them, on Friday reported a
more than 80% drop in profit in the first quarter.
Amigo is being investigated by Britain's Financial Conduct
Authority over how it assesses the creditworthiness of
customers, and has stopped almost all lending amid the
coronavirus pandemic and the probe.
Benamor called for a shareholder vote to oust current Chief
Financial Officer Nayan Kisnadwala and board member Roger
Lovering, as well as to reinstate himself as CEO.
The firm said it could not provide guidance on its expected
performance this year, and reiterated that the impact of the
pandemic and the FCA investigation meant there is uncertainty
over its ability to continue as a going concern.
Analysts said Benamor's commitment to buy at 20 pence per
share was behind the rise in the embattled lender's stock, which
rose to near 16 pence from its 12 pence close on Thursday. It
was at 13.8 pence by 0735 GMT.
(Reporting by Lawrence White; editing by Jason Neely, Kirsten