Quindell Portfolio chief hits back at firm’s critics

THE BOSS of outsourcing company Quindell Portfolio yesterday blamed “journalists and speculators” for blowing up a dispute that halved the value of his firm’s shares earlier this year.

Rob Terry, founder and chief executive of the fast-growing Aim-listed business, told City A.M. that the company is on the right track as he unveiled a strong rise in pre-tax profits for the first six months of 2013.

But Quindell is still associated with an uncomfortable period in the aftermath of May’s year-end results announcement. Strong headline figures were overshadowed by the revelation that the company had taken out an unusual £13.3m derivatives contract based on its own share price. The issue was compounded when it initially struggled to reassure investors why it was required.

“I regret the controversy,” Terry said yesterday. “But in reality anyone would take the same approach. [The contract] was perfectly suitable at the time.”

Quindell’s highly aggressive acquisition strategy meant May’s full-year results revealed a 915 per cent rise in pre-tax profits. For the first half of this year the company has done its best to avoid such large figures and has instead compared its results to the second half of 2012, prompting a 49 per cent profit increase to £43.3m.

Terry, who was previously head of early 2000s stock market darling The Innovation Group, said his critics should defer to Quindell’s customer list.

“One of the pages in Direct Line results was all about our technology,” he said. “If those brands are willing to be associated with us then they’ve done more substantial due diligence than any retail investor or analyst that doesn’t really cover the company.”

Quindell aims to provide a complete service for motor insurance claims, driving down costs and increasing ancillary revenues for insurers. To this end it has bought dozens of businesses ranging from personal injury lawyers to claims management firms and medical companies.

Terry says his firm is already involved in one out of every five claims against a UK insurer.

Shares in the company, which have regained most of the lost ground since May, yesterday closed down 7.4 per cent.