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Helphire unhappy with record results

Helphire, which specialises in services for accident victims, has reported a 6.9% rise in pre-tax profits to £43 million for the year to June.

Turnover was up by 39% from £290.3m to £404.9m and replacement vehicle cases were up 29% to 191,763.

But chairman Rodney Baker-Bates said this was not the result the company was hoping for at the start of the last financial year.

Baker-Bates said the last 12 months had been difficult for the firm which employs 1,100 staff from headquarters off Lower Bristol Road in Bath.

He said: “A balance needs to be struck between Helphire and insurers in their capacity as both introducers of business and underwriters against whom claims are made for the cost of our services.

“We have not yet achieved the right balance and because claims are not yet being settled as quickly as we would expect, our capital requirement has grown along with our business volumes.”

Helphire also saw its net debt jump from £222.6 million in 2007 to £362.3 million by June 30.
Baker-Bates said: “We expect demand for replacement vehicle services to continue to grow albeit less rapidly than in the past.

“However the difficult trading conditions we experienced in the second half of the past year as a result of the impact of the general economic slowdown on motoring activity have continued into the current year and it remains to be seen when previous levels of motoring activity will return.”

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