Jobs go as Helphire profits plunge


Helphire, which handles car accident claims, has announced that another 400 jobs will go

Accident claims handler Helphire has revealed another 400 job losses as it reported a 37% plunge in half-year profits.

The group has now slashed its workforce by 51% – or 1,610 jobs – since launching a cost-cutting drive in 2008 to offset tough conditions.

Helphire, which provides cars and handles claims for blameless drivers involved in accidents, said underlying pre-tax profits plunged to £3.6 million in the final six months of 2010 from £5.7 million a year earlier.

Shares tumbled 14% on the profits news.

The group hopes for a stronger second half, but has warned of challenges as record petrol prices and economic pressures keep drivers off the road and lead to lower accident rates.

Helphire issued a profits alert last October, cautioning these market pressures were expected to see results for the year to June 30 come in lower than market forecasts.

The Bath-based firm has also been hit by the loss of major accounts in recent years and has been leading a revival plan to slash costs.

It said 408 more jobs went in the final six months of 2010, it also moved call centre operations to sites in the North East and North West.

Further “small reductions” in headcount will be made by the end of June, but Helphire said the majority of job losses had now been made under its cost-cutting plan.

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