JCG Holdings expects its personal loan business to increase by 25 per cent in the second half of the year. Group general manager Tan Yoke-kong said the gloomy economy had driven more people to seek funds for immediate financial needs and the group catered to clients which the banks did not usually handle. He said the group's bad debt charge was about 2 per cent, the same as the previous year. The company's loan outstanding balance was $1.48 billion for the first half year to June 30. Personal loans accounted 68 per cent of the loan portfolio and had leapt 30 per cent, compared with the same period last year. Mr Tan predicted the loan book for the second half would reach $1.7 billion and personal loans would increase 25 per cent on last year. The group's property mortgage business in old properties has recorded no growth this year. 'It is not due to competition with the banks but to the slump in the property market as a whole,' Mr Tan said. Independent shareholders at the JCG special general meeting yesterday unanimously agreed to acquire Winton Holdings. The group is granting a conditional voluntary offer of one new JCG share for every three Winton shares. The group said it had secured a 52.5 per cent stake from its mother company, Public Bank, and director of Winton, Yip Wai-chau. Mr Tan said it had no plan to privatise Winton yet. Mr Tan said the group would wait for a recovery in the catering industry before disposing of Winton's restaurant business, as required by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.