Tail end of slump knocks Intrum Justitia

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THE trading performance of Intrum Justitia, the debt collection group, has been hit by difficult economic conditions that pushed pre-tax profits down to pounds 13.9m from pounds 15.96m in the year to December 1993.

Bo Goranson, chief executive, said: 'Most areas of the group continued to grow, but the rate of growth overall slowed compared to previous years, due to the difficult economic environment. Results at the group level were also heavily affected by adverse exchange rate movements.

'In spite of a contraction in many of our markets, we have managed to maintain profits by winning market share,' he said.

The group explained that the tail end of a long and deep recession, before the effects of recovery fed through, was its most difficult period.

'The high volumes of cases created early on in recession decrease again as the economy contracts. Severe financial difficulties for companies and individuals lower the collection success rate and lengthen handling times.

In the UK tight cost control led to increased profits. France performed well, the company said. The Swiss operation has returned to profit, and Germany showed strong growth and increased profit margins.

Net profits, after tax, showed little change at pounds 10.6m ( pounds 10.5m), and the gross dividend has been increased by 10 per cent to 3.3p.