More hiring but profits squeezed and debtor days rise

Helphire has announced half-year results showing a pre-tax loss of £59.3m on a 10% increased turnover, with its adjusted operating profit down from £25.9m for the period the previous year to just £8.9m.

The company also announced a board shake-up and three new non-execs.

Highlights

  • Revenue before exceptional item increased by 10.3% to £202.9m (2007: £183.9m)
  • Adjusted operating profit of £8.9m (2007: £25.9m)
  • Adjusted PBT of £3.0m (2007: £21.8m)
  • Inclusive of exceptional items, loss before tax of £59.3m (2007: profit of £19.4m)
  • Diluted loss per share of 32.6p (2007:earnings of 9.9p)
  • Adjusted diluted earnings per share of 4.7p (2007: 11.1p)
  • No interim dividend declared (2007: 6.5p per share). Intention to reinstate dividends as profit and cash flow permit
  • Hire cases increased by 6.4% to 98,774 (2007: 92,833)
  • Hire days reduced by 3.4% to 2,187,681 (2007: 2,263,975)
  • Cash collected increased to £146.0m (2007: £114.5m) however debtor days increased to 265 days (2007: 225 days)

Richard Rose, chairman, said: "Despite the very challenging current trading environment, the recent changes to the Board and executive team provide Helphire with the leadership skills and experience required to progress the Group's restructuring plans. The management team is currently focused on addressing the issues that require immediate action. Whilst there is clearly a great deal to do, I am confident that we are now well placed to improve the Group's performance and progressively improve returns to shareholders."

David Paige, Mike O'Leary and Dr Reiner Hagemann, will step down from the Board with effect from 1 March 2009. Former chairman Rodney Baker-Bates will also formally resign.

Replacements are:

Michael Howard QC, former Home Secretary

Andrew Cripps, non-executive with Booker Group and deputy chairman of

Swedish Match former CEO of Avis Europe.