Specialist ABS secures £150,000 from regional growth fund

Cars: vehicle diminution specialist wins backing

The North East Growth Fund (NEGF) is investing £150,000 in one of the country’s most specialised ABSs.

Clifford James Consultants, a claims management company based in Stocksfield, Northumberland, describes itself as “one of the UK’s leading vehicle diminution specialists”. It became an ABS in March last year.

The NEGF is designed to help create over 1,700 new jobs in the region by the end of this year. It aims to make investments of between £100,000 and £750,000 in over 100 established North East companies which are at a “development and growth” stage.

Stewart Fairhurst, managing director at Clifford James Consultants, said: “We’re one of the few law firms that have chosen to focus specifically on this area, and we’ve gained a great deal of detailed knowledge about it as well as a leading position within the sector as a result.

“The law of diminution has rapidly developed since we started trading, with our cases and expertise being instrumental in many of these changes.

“We already advise many of the biggest names in the industry, and now want to enhance our capacity to manage even more work from more and bigger clients.

“The systems upgrades and new staff training provisions that we’re putting in place will give us the resources we need to take advantage of the many commercial opportunities that we believe are out there for us right across the UK, and we’ll be looking to grow the team on the back of the new contracts that we’re confident will come our way.”

Mr Fairhurst said the firm had looked at more traditional options for bringing new capital into the business, but the NEGF was the option best suited to its needs.

Clifford James set up its specialist diminution service in 2006, and acts for both clients making a diminution claim as well as insurance companies.

The NEGF is managed by NEL Fund Managers. Jane Siddle, investment executive at NEL, said Clifford James had a well-established position in an “expanding and valuable niche market”.

The NEGF forms part of the wider Finance for Business North East Fund, which will see £125m of investment capital injected into the region by the European Investment Bank and European Regional Development Fund 2007-13 over a five-year period.

Meanwhile, accident management company Helphire Group plc will change its name to Redde plc from 23 May in light of its acquisition in March of New Law Solicitors.

Chief executive Martin Ward said: “Following the recent acquisition of the New Law group of companies, it was entirely appropriate that the holding company of the group adopt a new name that better reflects the enlarged position of the group.

“The new name, Redde plc, which is associated, in Latin, with the concept of restoration, entirely encompasses the spectrum of activities relating to accident management in which the group is engaged.

“Individual operating subsidiaries will continue to trade under the brand names for which they have become renowned as leading providers of comprehensive accident management assistance.”

The group has also announced a share capital reorganisation on the basis of one new share for every 10 existing shares. It said this will lead to “more meaningful earnings per share figures and result in the new ordinary shares trading in a price range that is more conventional and more appropriate for a company of Helphire’s size and profile”.



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