End of year loss for Helphire
Accident management company Helphire has revealed an end-of-year loss of more than £6 million despite business improving in the second half of the year.
The Lower Bristol Road-based firm, which provides replacement vehicles for motorists involved in accidents, said loss before tax for the financial year ending June this year was £6.3 million.
The company also revealed a statutory operating loss of £0.7 million, and confirmed there would be no final dividend pay-out.
Chief executive Martin Ward said the company, which employs 1,250 nationally and 120 in Bath, was optimistic about its future.
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He said: "The improvements in operational delivery and the quality of business undertaken, together with the steps made to improve margins have enabled the business to strengthen its performance in challenging market conditions. In the second half, the group's normal trading operations returned to profit whilst significantly reducing debtor days and net debt.
“The group remains well-positioned as its marketplace evolves."
Helphire’s end-of-year statement showed that the company had spent £3.4 million on restructuring, which included axing 80 jobs at its Pinesgate headquarters at the end of last year.
According to the statement the company has also been able to reduce its debt by £22.9 million to £110.8 million.
Chairman Avril Palmer-Baunack said Helphire faced many challenges including a weak economy, a decline in car hire length, which had dropped to an average of 16.4 days from last year’s 18.7 days, and an impending regulatory intervention by the Competition Commission (CC).
Earlier this year the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) announced it intended to refer the UK market for the supply or acquisition of private motor insurance and related services, which includes the credit hire industry, to the CC for investigation. A final decision is expected this month.
Ms Palmer-Baunack said: “The board expects that in response to these pressures the market will take action by making changes to the way in which business is conducted and, in anticipation of those future possible changes, the group is examining and implementing certain business model changes.”
In 2010 Helphire axed around 1,200 jobs, many in Bath. It also closed its call centre in the city, concentrating its operations in the north of England.