Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It's No Accident as Drivers Who Leave Their Cars at Home Put a Dent in Helphire's Profits

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It's No Accident as Drivers Who Leave Their Cars at Home Put a Dent in Helphire's Profits

Article excerpt

THREE years ago Helphire shares were trading at well over 400p a time. Today you can pick them up for little more than 221/2p a shot.

I am not recommending that you do, by the way. Nor am I saying that you shouldn't buy them. All I can declare is that I don't own any -- Press Complaints Commission, please note.

Anyway, back to Helphire's travails. Martin Ward, its newish chief executive, was brought in to run a company which may have been getting a bit ahead of itself.

It had lost or curtailed several big contracts with some of the major insurers which are its customers.

They employ Helphire and similar firms to provide temporary replacement cars to their clients who are involved in crashes which are not their fault. They also arrange hassle-free repairs for the client's own car.

But essentially, these companies are massive fleet-hire businesses. They depend on their fleets being used and not sitting in car parks.

Ward told me a month ago that if we didn't all start putting our foot down harder on the accelerator and bump into each other more frequently his life would become much harder. …

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