Accident management specialists Helphire reported a pretax profit of £1.3m for the six months to the end of September.

This was compared to a pretax profit of £1.8m during the same period in 2002.

Helphire attributed the fall in profit to depreciation of £461,000, IT expenditure of £904,000, and a £346,000 investment in new accounts.

Turnover for the period was £31.8m, compared to £23.7m for the same period in 2002.

Operating profit stood at £1.9m, against £1.9m in 2002.

The board recommended an interim dividend payment of 2p per share. The 2002 interim payment was nil, and 1.5p for the year as a whole.

Chairman Michael Symons said: "We are expecting significantly higher volumes in the second half compared to the first half, as is usual for the group."