Drop in two-wheelers ‘a surprise’, says broker, and reveals it is on the look-out for acquisitions

Carole Nash chief executive David Newman said that the firm’s 2009 profits fell slightly as the number of UK motorcyclists dipped for the first time in years.

The Altrincham-based broker posted a fall in pre-tax profits to £6.17m (2008: £7.6m) on turnover of £24.2m (2008: £24.9m) for the year ended 31 December 2009.

Newman, who was speaking to Insurance Times prior to the release of the broker’s results this week, said volume was lost because of a 1% fall in the number of bikers in the entire market, and a decline in new bikers. In 2009, new registrations in the motorcycle industry fell 20%.

“We had fewer people coming into the market, and statutory off-road notifications (Sorns) have increased in bikes – people are leaving them in garages and not taking them out. Those two things have meant that the market has shrunk very, very slightly.”

He added: “It is surprising, because in a recession we thought that you might have seen more people go from four wheels to two wheels, or new entrants to the market – youngsters getting two wheels before they bought four wheels – but that hasn’t come through at all.”

Newman also said that, year on year as of January 2010, like-for-like sales were down 45%, while rolling year was down 27%.

“The other area where we have been hit is in terms of fee income from mid-term adjustments,” Newman added. “People weren’t moving home so often, weren’t changing their bike so often, and the only other area was investment income. We were hit in terms of low Bank of England rates. Overall, we think we have put in a solid performance.”

He also revealed that the broker was currently looking to make acquisitions. “We’re looking for books of business that maybe other brokers have built up as an accommodation business over the years.”

Newman said that 2010 would be “about execution”, which includes investment in its “six-wheel” product, which covers one owner for a car and a motorbike.

Click here to read the full interview with David Newman.