Motor salvage company Universal Salvage has increased its pre-tax profits by 18% to £6.6m for the year ending April 2001.

The company, whose clients include a number of insurance companies, suffered a drop in its turnover to £84.2m from £87.6m in 2000, in part reflecting the fall in second-hand vehicle values.

Alexander Foster, chairman of Universal Salvage, said: “The marketplace in which we operate is undergoing significant change and the forthcoming introduction of the European end of life vehicle legislation will be a catalyst for further transformation.”

The European law comes into force in the UK in the spring of 2002 and changes the way certain categories of vehicle can be handled under insurance contracts.

From this date, all end of life vehicles will be deemed hazardous waste and must be disposed of at a designated approved treatment centre (ATC).

Universal Salvage intends to spend £1m at each of its branches this year to achieve ATC status and full waste management licences.

The company believes the European legislation will have the effect of driving less well equipped salvage operators out of the market, expanding Universal Salvage's opportunities for growth.

Foster added that the company's secure online claims management system Stat-Us has successfully reduced claims handling costs for insurer clients.