H&H Group of Companies have today announced a 23% growth in profits resulting in yet another record for the business. Continuing to acquire and expand, the Group who operates across the North of England, has announced profits for the year of £1.44 million (a rise on last year’s £1.21 million). The company whose roots date back to the late 19th century is made up of eight different businesses and this record turnover is testament to its extraordinary vision and growth. Capital expenditure for the year was £1.65 million with continued investment in facilities.
With its heritage in Livestock Auctioneering in recent years the group have developed their other corporate interests within chartered surveying, estate agency, financial services and printing. It is now a major hive of business and enterprise across the North of England and the South of Scotland. During the last twelve months H&H Group has increased its workforce by 12.5% and it currently employs over 280 members of staff. In addition with the Borderway site attracting well over 100,000 visitors last year, the H&H business is a significant contributor to the local economy.
The past year has seen a number of milestones reached: H&H Land and Property, H&H’s chartered surveying business opened offices in the North East, in Durham and also significantly expanded its professional staff in its Carlisle office; H&H Reeds Printers expanded into two more locations with specialist sign writing facilities and the acquisition of Cypher Digital in Milnthorpe and Harrison & Hetherington saw record turnover through their livestock centres with over £120 million for the very first time.
On announcing these results Chief Executive, Brian Richardson gives some further background: “As a Group, we have been working hard to develop all our business interests and we now operate across a number of sectors which all have great potential for future growth. We are of course, best known for livestock auctioneering and have over 140 years of heritage operating the United Kingdom’s leading livestock centre. The increase in turnover for Harrison & Hetherington can be attributed to a combination of higher livestock prices as well as a higher throughput. This indicates a gain in market share, certainly an achievement in such a competitive market.”
H&H Group purchased Reeds Printers in 2010, a Penrith based business first established in 1878. The business was renamed H&H Reeds Printers and since then has acquired two further print businesses.
“These results also encompass our printing business, H&H Reeds Printers, for the first full year. The purchase of the Carlisle-based sign business, and a specialist digital wide format print and exhibition facility at Milnthorpe has enabled H&H Reeds Printers to become a ‘one stop shop’ for customers for both product choice and Cumbria coverage. We were aware that spending cuts in the public sector would impact the printing business in some areas, so to combat this we have looked at offering more services to a wider range of audiences. While the economy remains tough we have a great platform to build from”.
H&H Insurance Brokers, has for the fourth year running, increased its share of the market, and has been supported by a heavy investment in marketing and expansion of their geographical coverage. It is becoming a very significant force in the insurance market for both agricultural and commercial cover; and the company is a finalist in the prestigious National Insurance Times Awards, an exciting feat for the growing business.
H&H Borderway Finance primarily provides loans for motor vehicles, and against a difficult market has worked hard to maintain market share and avoid any bad debts. This it has achieved and its services are evolving to meet growing demands in the area. Part of this success was a result of its ‘Road to Recovery’ campaign, which made it clear to local businesses that finance is still available and that H&H Borderway Finance have the funds in place to provide it.
Three other branches of the business, involved in sales are H&H Auction Rooms, H&H Motor Auctions and H&H King the company’s estate and lettings agents. H&H Auction Rooms have continued to trade well with a number of interesting and important items being sold under the hammer over the last 12 months. Despite a reduction in vehicles being available H&H Motor Auctions has started to see trade increase and through the innovative use of technology the aim is to see these improvements continue into 2013.
H&H King has continued see a steady stream of properties added for both sale and for let. The housing market remains incredibly tough with a lack of confidence and finance available, however people still need to move for work and family reasons so there are still healthy levels of activity.
The economic climate continues to be challenging and this is something that Mr Richardson is aware of in his predictions for the coming year:
“Currently the economy is very tough. There is a shortage of cash, businesses are nervous about investing, and banks are nervous about lending. As a result of this we are not expecting to see dramatic growth in the UK. However, here at H&H we will continue to develop all of our businesses and we will expand our services both geographically and in terms of customer numbers. We believe our success is one of the building blocks that is helping to stimulate sales for other businesses in the local economy here in Cumbria. ”
“Auctioneering very much remains the heritage of the business and the Group’s aim will continue to have a broad spread of interests covering several business sectors that can all deliver value for our shareholders.”
As the economy looks to remain deflated this is one company with big plans for the future. It has a team at the helm that is not frightened to invest; H&H Group certainly look set for another successful year.
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