Helphire cuts 400 more jobs

Accident claims handler Help-hire revealed a further 400 job losses yesterday as it reported a 37 per cent plunge in half-year profits.

The company, which provides cars and handles claims for blameless drivers involved in accidents, said underlying pre-tax profits slid to 3.6 million in the final six months of 2010, from 5.7m a year earlier.

The group hopes for a stronger second half, but has warned of challenges as record petrol prices and economic pressures keep drivers off the road and lead to lower accident rates.

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The firm has also been hit by the loss of major accounts in recent years that forced it into a revival plan to slash costs.

Helphire has halved its workforce by cutting just over 1,600 jobs since launching the cost-cutting drive in 2008, with further "small reductions" planned.

Chief executive Martin Ward said the group was now a "smaller, more efficient and more tightly managed business".

Helphire's shares last night closed down 18 per cent or 3.1p at 14.25p.