Lender Amigo has put itself up for sale and launched a strategic review after losing more than 75% of its share value since June.

The guarantor lender - which allows people with poor credit history to borrow money by naming friends or family members as guarantors - has seen its value dive sharply over the past year on the back of regulatory scrutiny.

Amigo said that Richmond Group, which owns a 60.6% stake in the business, has said it would be a "willing seller" of Amigo.

The company has hired RBC Capital Markets to lead the review and sale process.

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No approaches to buy the business have been made yet and shareholders have been advised that there is no certainty of offers or a sale.

The Bournemouth-based firm said its review will look at the "company's strategy, ownership and operating model" and consider the sale of the business as a whole or selling separate parts of the company.

This could lead to a "reorganisation of entities within the group, the sale of the UK business or the sale of certain books of business including a potential de-listing of the company's shares", it said.

Amigo said its loan book growth and impairments have been in line with expectations for the past nine months.

However, it added that the launch of the review could affect future lending volumes as the business.

In an update to the stock market, the company said it continues to face a "challenging operating environment".

It said: "While Amigo remains confident in the robustness of its approach to lending decisions, we are concerned that there may be increased pressure on our business and a continual evolution in the approach of the Financial Ombudsman Service.

"We continually look to enhance our processes and are monitoring developments with a view to assessing the long-term impact on the company."

Last month, Hamish Paton stepped down as chief executive after just five months as founder and Richmond Group chief James Benamor returned to the business as a non-executive director.

Amigo floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2018 with market capitalisation of £1.3 billion, but it is now valued at around £323 million.

Petra Diamonds shares have dived after the company saw first-half revenues slide by 6%.

The company was hit by lower prices as the diamond industry continues to tackle weak demand from China amid trade tensions with the US and political unrest in Hong Kong.

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Petra said it saw increased price stability towards the end of the period and that demand has "continued to improve" in the current period.

The Africa-focused miner added that it will meet or exceed full-year production guidance after unearthing record high volumes of diamonds.

It said production increased by 3% to 2,070,240 carats for the six-month period to December 31.

Management said the firm's Project 2022 operational improvement programme has now been extended to all of its mines, driving the improvement in production.

The debt-laden business said its net cash position decreased to $53.6 million (£41 million) while its consolidated net debt was roughly flat at $632.9 million (£484 million).

Petra hailed sales of the exceptional blue diamond from its flagship Cullinan mine, but said this was offset by price decline and poor quality diamonds from its Finsch mine in South Africa.

Chief executive Richard Duffy said: "I am very pleased with the progress made in implementing Project 2022 across our operations and at corporate level.

"It is also encouraging that rough diamond pricing has modestly improved moving into our third quarter.
"The health of the market will depend on continued supply discipline from the majors as well as macro-economic conditions."

Shares in the business sank 10% to 9.6p in early trading on Monday.

Crude prices fell more than 2% amid the rising number of cases of the new coronavirus in China.

Brent crude fell by $1.28 a barrel, or 2.1%, to $59.41, having earlier dropped to $58.68, its lowest since late October.

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US crude was down by $1.24, or 2.3%, to $52.95, having earlier eased to $52.15, the lowest since early October.

Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud, seeking to calm the market, said he was watching developments in China and said he felt confident the new virus would be contained.

Markets are being “primarily driven by psychological factors and extremely negative expectations adopted by some market participants despite (the virus’) very limited impact on global oil demand,” he said.