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Helphire axes further 400 jobs

Wednesday February 23rd 2011

Helphire is shedding another 400 jobs after half-year profits plummeted by 37%.

Some 1,610 jobs - amounting to 51% of its workforce - have been cut at the accident claims handler since it began a cost-cutting drive in 2008.

The firm, which helps innocent drivers deal with Car Insurance providers following an accident and provides replacement cars, saw underlying pre-tax profits drop to £3.6m in the last half of 2010, in comparison to £5.7m the previous year.

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.

Copyright © Press Association 2011

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