British lender Amigo enters new restrictions with watchdog

Amigo Holdings, which is embroiled in a dispute with its founder, entered an Asset Voluntary Requirement (AVR) with Britain's financial watchdog meaning the subprime lender will need approval to transfer assets outside of the group.

Latest restrictions block bonuses, dividends

Firm being probed over how it checks credit

Amigo in spat with founder James Benamor

Adds share reaction

LONDON, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Amigo Holdings AMGO.L, which is embroiled in a dispute with its founder, entered an Asset Voluntary Requirement (AVR) with Britain's financial watchdog meaning the subprime lender will need approval to transfer assets outside of the group.

The move also means it needs approval to pay bonus payments to company executives and dividends to shareholders, Amigo said.

Amigo's shares slid 25% on Monday as investors took in the latest setback in a turbulent 18 months for the lender, which is facing regulatory probes into its business and a spat with founder James Benamor who has lobbied to be reinstated as CEO.

The firm, 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, is being investigated by Britain's Financial Conduct Authority over how it assesses the creditworthiness of customers.

Amigo reported an 83% fall in first-quarter profit in August and a 32% drop in revenue.

Its shares have plunged 97% since June last year.

Benamor last month lost a shareholder vote that would see him reinstated to run the company he founded in 2005, and he afterwards said Chief Executive Gary Jennison should be allowed to show what he can do to turn the firm's fortunes around.

The company on Monday said it had adequate liquidity to continue to fund operations and support its customers.

(Reporting By Lawrence White; Editing by Edmund Blair and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

((lawrence.white@thomsonreuters.com; +44 207 542 6137; Reuters Messaging: lawrence.white.thomsonreuters@reuters.net))

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