Credit hire firm identifies ‘several thousand cases’ that may have been compromised by unreliable evidence

Credit hire company Helphire expects to start settlement negotiations with insurers “over the coming months” relating to the Autofocus litigation.

The litigation centres on the fact that several major insurers had used evidence from now discredited research firm Autofocus to drive down credit hire rates.

Helphire said in annual general meeting AGM) statement, issued this morning: “Subject to being satisfied that we have identified the full extent of our losses, we expect to begin settlement negotiations with insurers over the coming months. We intend, where possible, to resolve matters with insurers without litigation.”

The company said it had made good progress in the preparatory stages of the Autofocus litigation and that it had identified “several thousand cases” that may have been compromised because of unreliable evidence used by the defendant insurers.

It added: “These cases are going through due process, which will allow the group to represent its losses to insurers.”

Good start

Helphire also revealed in its AGM statement that the four months to 31 October 2013, the first four months of the company’s trading year, had gone well.

It said: “Trading profits for the first four months of the year are ahead of the corresponding period last year.

“Early indications are that this trend has continued during November and the board is confident about the group’s prospects for the financial year as a whole.”

Debtor days fell to 128 days from 153 days as of 31 October 2012. Net cash was £4.3m, compared with a net debt position of £101m as of 31 October 2012.

Helphire completed a refinancing in March 2013, which it said “has put the group on a much stronger footing and has raised the group’s stature in the marketplace.

“ As a consequence, the group is being invited to participate in an increasing number of commercial and other opportunities, which, if consummated, could provide a platform for more significant growth in the future.”