HomeServe up after pivoting away from UK

 
Michael Bow
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HOMESERVE, the home repairs group currently being investigated by UK regulators, yesterday stormed to a £25.6m half year profit after swivelling its focus off the UK market towards selling to people overseas.

The group announced in May it was being investigated by the Financial Services Authority over its UK telephone sales and marketing tactics. Yesterday it said profits had surged nine per cent on the back of £229.6m in revenues over the half year ending 30 September as it turned away from the UK market.

HomeServe, which offers emergency home insurance, yesterday reported that customer numbers in the UK had plunged 500,000 to 2.5m in the past six months and would carry on falling.

Chief executive Richard Harpin said: “HomeServe is making progress in transitioning its UK business to a smaller, more customer focused operation and has delivered good growth in its international businesses in the first half of the year.”

The fall off in UK activity was offset by strong growth in the US where customer numbers increased 20 per cent.

The company also boosted its balance sheet by taking over French firm Doméo last December, buying out the remaining 51 per cent stake from Veolia Environnement.

The purchase increased net debt to £78.1m, up from £36.6m over the six months, but it also helped improve HomeServe’s cash flow, sending free cash flow from £2.3m to £10.3m at the end of September.

HomeServe jumped more than ten per cent on the FTSE yesterday closing up at 247.9p on the back of the results.