Homeserve says overhaul is on track as customer numbers fall

Marion Dakers
TROUBLED property repairs group HomeServe said yesterday customer complaints have fallen in recent months, as its overhaul, prompted by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) starts to pay off.

The firm, whose shares fell by half after financial watchdog, the FSA, started a policy mis-selling probe, said customer numbers fell from 3m to 2.5m in the year to September, in line with forecasts.

“We are making progress in implementing our plans to reshape our UK business and restore its customer focus,” the company said in a trading update.

HomeServe, which sells cover for and fixes boilers and burst pipes, said half-year pre-tax profits are expected to be higher than the £23.5m recorded in the previous period.

While its UK operations are shrinking, the group’s bottom line will be boosted by the purchase of French business Domeo at the end of 2011.

The FSA probe, which HomeServe said was ongoing and would take a number of months to complete, could result in a fine or compensation for customers. The company suspended telesales in October following new of the investigation.

HomeServe’s FTSE 250-listed shares closed down 1.4 per cent at 218p, broadly in line with the rest of the index.