Secure rise continues

Click to follow
The Independent Online
SECURE Trust, the Midlands group that collects money from its customers to help them budget for their household bills, has continued its steady progress by lifting interim pre-tax profits by 10 per cent to pounds 3.4m, writes Paul Durman.

High unemployment has meant the numbers using Secure Homes, the cash management service, remained static at around 55,000. However, the increased fee of pounds 2.20 a week pushed up fee income by 15 per cent to pounds 3.6m.

Henry Angest, chairman, said growth would be slow until there was a recovery in employment prospects in the Midlands.

Last year's acquisition of OBC Insurance Consultants helped to boost the group's commission income by 78 per cent to pounds 3.2m. But the group's expenses also rose sharply, by 39 per cent to pounds 5.1m.

Lower interest rates trimmed the amount that Secure Trust earns on the pounds 10m-pounds 15m of cash it holds on behalf of its customers from pounds 1.85m to pounds 1.7m.

Mr Angest said Secure Trust could be interested in a substantial acquisition within financial services if it could find the right proposition.

He said Secure Trust's bad-debt experience on its small loan book was very good. Last year it wrote off about pounds 100,000 against pounds 8m of loans and advances, though Mr Angest said this might double this year. The interim dividend rises 14 per cent to 4p.