Fleet News

Credit hire firms in fight for supremacy

A HEAD-to-head battle for supremacy in the non-fault accident assistance market has sparked a flurry of stock market flotations which will transform their service to fleets. Firms are using millions of pounds raised by selling share stock to fund national expansion in a bid to dominate a market expected to rocket in size in the next few years.

The market has an estimated potential value of between £3 billion and £12 billion a year, but only a fraction of the potential business is being exploited. Awareness of credit hire is growing among drivers and competing firms and jockeying for dominant positions which will reap massive rewards if demand takes off as expected.

In the past few weeks, Alpha Accident Management, Auto Indemnity and Ellen Group announced flotation plans. Their actions follow the successful flotation of Helphire in 1997, which provided vital cash for expansion and led to its domination of the industry. Its shares began trading at £1, but since then they have soared to about £3. David Robertson, operations director of Helphire, agreed that creating a well-known brand now would pay dividends in the future.

He said: 'In the breakdown sector, the three largest players are the AA, RAC and Green Flag and smaller players would find it very difficult to challenge their position. The same is happening in this industry. We are one of the well established players in the market along with companies such as 3 Arrows, but other players are also trying to grab a share of the market, as awareness is increasing of the services we provide. There is no question the industry will increase in size.'

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