Revenues hit £83m in year to May

Oval has warned of tough trading conditions ahead as it reported strong growth for the last financial year.

The broking and financial services group recorded a 38% rise in revenues to £83m for the year to 31 May 2008. Pre-tax profit was up 16% to £4.6m in the same period.

The group’s insurance broking business reported profit up 51% to £20.5m before central overheads, funding costs and goodwill amortisation.

Gross written premium was £333m.

Jeff Herdman, Oval’s group managing director, said trading had been good in the first six months of the current financial year. But he predicted that trading conditions would deteriorate markedly next year.

“The next six months will be really difficult.

It will be carnage, with liquidations and bankruptcies. We need to help our clients, and ride this through,” said Herdman.

The company was well positioned to see through the recession, he added. “We have a diverse range of clients in a wide range of industry sectors. Our cost base is not over-inflated.”

The company will continue its acquisition programme, although at a slower rate than last year. “There are still good businesses out there and you still have to pay a good price for them,” said Herdman.

Oval acquired 12 businesses in the year to 31 May 2008. The broker has since acquired two more companies. In October, it agreed a £115m debt facility to fund its expansion programme.