WH Ireland in the red

STOCKBROKER WH Ireland remained in the red over the past financial year despite a nascent pick-up in activity in the small cap broking sector, though the firm insisted yesterday the worst of its woes are behind it.

WH Ireland made a pre-tax loss on continuing operations of £2.08m over the year to November, slightly narrower than the £2.48m it lost in 2008.

But chief executive Richard Ford said the company is starting to see the benefits of its restructuring programme and a drive to diversify the business to reduce its dependency on the volatile stock market cycle.

“These additional strings to our bow...will aid our continuing and increasingly successful attempts to increase revenue,” he said.

WH Ireland laid off 43 of its staff over the year, as well as reducing its stake in its Australian subsidiary to 37.3 per cent, from 76.6 per cent at the end of the prior financial year. It also stripped down its assets from £282.28m in 2008 to just £62.3m.