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H&H to consolidate in 2017

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Monday, March 20, 2017 at 8:08AM

THE chief executive of H&H Group says the firm is looking to consolidate its business after a strong 2016.

Brian Richardson made the comments after the firm, which has its headquarters in Rosehill, Carlisle, and operations throughout the county, posted its interim results for the six months to the end of December.

An increased turnover of £7.9m represents an increase of 11 per cent over the same period in 2015, up from £7.1m. Profits before tax are also up to £805,000 from £340,000.

The group’s average share price rose from £26.48 to £27.85 for the same period in 2015.

"We have been fairly progressive in developing and growing the business," Mr Richardson said.

"Agriculture has its ups and its down but I believe we are well placed to continue the growth in the business."

H&H's portfolio covers a broad range of business areas.

It was originally set up as a firm of farmstock auctioneers.

The group now operates as a holding company with seven operating companies encompassing livestock, machinery and vehicle auctioneers, brokers and valuers, auction rooms, commercial printers, chartered surveyors, insurance brokers and estate agents.

It employs about 300 people, most of whom are based in Cumbria.

Mr Richardson said: "We have got a broad customer base going from printing on the one hand through to rural businesses on the other.

"The rural economy still accounts for about two thirds of our business and that is the bedrock of what we do but the spread gives us a good cross section of business."

In 2015 it became the largest livestock auctioneering business in the UK when it took over Edinburgh-based John Swan and Sons, which meant H&H took control of marts in Newtown St Boswells in the Scottish Borders and Wooler in Northumberland. The following year it took over Michael CL Hodgson, an estate and land agency with offices in Kendal and Grange-over-Sands.

Mr Richardson said H&H has no plans for more acquisitions but would not rule any out completely.

"We have made two major acquisitions and we and we need to consolidate these into the business," he said.

"We look to keep developing in the future."

* ONE part of the group - letting agent H&H King - has announced the appointment of Piers Morton as branch manager.

In his new role he will oversee a team of four staff, together with managing operations and supporting the company’s growth.

He has more than 12 years’ experience within the industry. He joined H&H King as senior valuer six years ago from Tiffin & Co.

“I am delighted to have been invited to head up the H&H King branch here in Carlisle. As a progressive company with a highly visible high street presence we have seen continued expansion in recent years. My aim now is to focus strongly on developing the team and growing both residential sales and lettings both sides of the border.

“The property market is fast paced, and demanding and in these interesting times, it is more important than ever to be aware of the ever changing trends and to understand the local market. Using my extensive experience, we will continue to build on our excellent reputation and offer our customers the very highest levels of service.”

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