Guarantor lender Amigo's shares have plunged after it warned of a slowdown in lending growth ahead of an expected regulatory crackdown.

Shares in the FTSE 250 company dived by more than 40 per cent in early trading on Thursday after it also said impairment rates jumped on the back of "operational challenges".

Amigo said it is taking a more cautious approach to lending to due to the "change in economic outlook and potential for regulatory change".

The firm specialises in guarantor lending, which allows borrowers with weak credit histories to take out loans by having a creditworthy friend or family member sign as a guarantor.

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The sector has grown rapidly in recent years but has come under significant pressure from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which has previously raised concerns over the business model of guarantor lenders.

Amigo chief executive Hamish Paton, who took over the top job last month, said the lender was being "proactive and pragmatic" by changing its strategy before an FCA intervention.

The company posted revenues of £71.5 million for the quarter to June, up 13.7% on the same period last year.

Adjusted pre-tax profits fell 6.4% to £20.4 million, however, on the back of the rise in impairment costs and increased investment.

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It said impairment costs had risen after it updated its models to reflect the "increased probability of a no-deal Brexit" and the impact of this on consumer sentiment.

Amigo's customer numbers jumped 17.3% against the same period in 2018.

Shares slid 41.4% to 85.6p in early trading on Thursday.

Software giant Micro Focus has warned sales will be lower than previously expected as bosses said the economic uncertainty is slowing business.

The company, which sells software to banks and retailers which use legacy IT systems, said full-year revenues will now be down between 6% and 8% compared with previous estimates of a 4% to 6% fall.

Shares plunged on the news, down 31% in early trading on Thursday to 1,060.9p.

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A year ago, revenues were $4.1 billion (£3.36bn), meaning an 8% fall would take sales to $3.7bn dollars (£3bn).

Executives at the FTSE 100 firm will now speed up a review of operations to look for "strategic, operational and financial alternatives" in a year that saw shareholders vote down the company's pay report in protest against huge bonuses.

Pernod Ricard, owner of Scotch whisky distiller Chivas Brothers, has unveiled a major share buyback programme and new international investments.

The French spirit giant pushed dividends higher after like-for-like profits jumped 8.7% to €2.6 billion (£2.3bn) for the year to June 30, nudging ahead of forecasts.

Elliott Management, which owns a 2.5% stake in the company, has called on Pernod to improve profit margins at the company.

Pernod also further strengthened its bourbon whisky portfolio by announcing the $223 million (£183m) acquisition of US-based spirits maker Castle Brands.