HIGHER livestock prices coupled with company acquisitions have ensured a record year of profits for Carlisle-based H&H Group.
The group, which operates across the North of England, has announced profits for the year of £1.4m, a rise on last year’s £1.2m. Its turnover also grew from £11.5m to £14m within the year.
With its roots dating back to the late 19th Century, the company is made up of eight businesses including chartered surveying, estate agency, financial services and printing.
However, the group is best-known for livestock auctioneering and its growth in turnover has been attributed to a combination of higher livestock prices as well as a higher throughput.
Chief executive Brian Richardson said: “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 more than 140 years of heritage operating the UK’s leading livestock centre.
“We saw record turnover through our livestock centres with over £120m for the very first time.
“The increase in turnover indicates a gain in market share, certainly an achievement in such a competitive market. We are well-known for our pedigree livestock sales and we sold a Limousin bull for a record-breaking price this year.”
Capital expenditure for the year was £1.6m with continued investment in facilities.
With its 140-year-old heritage in auctioneering, the group has developed its other corporate interests within chartered surveying, estate agency, financial services and printing.
During the past 12 months H&H Group has increased its workforce by 12.5% and it currently employs more than 280 members of staff. In addition, with the Borderway site in Carlisle attracting well over 100,000 visitors last year, the past year has seen a number of milestones reached.
H&H Land and Property, the group’s chartered surveying business opened offices in Durham and has also grown its workforce in Carlisle. The printing arm of the business expanded into two more locations with specialist sign- writing facilities and the acquisition of Cypher Digital in Milnthorpe, Cumbria.
Richardson said: “The purchase of the Carlisle-based sign business, and a specialist digital-wide format print and exhibition facility at Milnthorpe, has enabled us 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.”
H&H Insurance Brokers has, for the fourth year running, increased its share of the market and been supported by investment in marketing and expansion of their geographical coverage. It is also a finalist in the National Insurance Times Awards.
H&H Borderway Finance provides loans for motor vehicles, and against a difficult market has worked to maintain market share and avoid any particularly bad debts. 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.
Three other branches of the business are H&H Auction Rooms, H&H Motor Auctions and H&H King the company’s estate and lettings agents.
“Currently the economy is very tough,” said Richardson. “There is a shortage of cash, businesses are nervous about investing, and banks are nervous about lending.”