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Investment hits profits at ESPC

14 November 2013

Turnover and profits at Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre both fell in the year to 31 May 2013, on the company's figures published today.

Revenue was down from £8,821,955 in 2011-12 to £7,896,355, while pre-tax profits fell from £969,470 to £386,308. ESPC says the reduction in profits "reflects the company’s shift in focus from recapitalising the business to consolidating and improving the market position for ESPC and its membership".

Figures for 2011-12 have been restated since last year's accounts, to reflect a change in business practice from selling a six-month product, to property now being marketed on a "hold until sold" basis.

Chairman Robin Stimpson commented: “Throughout the year the residential property market continued to endure challenging trading conditions. ESPC maintained a dominant market share across East Central Scotland as well as investing in marketing channels and technology to support the brand and its members.

“The year end results, although down on last year, reflect the investment we have put back into the business. This is one of the benefits of our business structure which, with no shareholders, allows the board to take a longer-term view. As the market has picked up in the second half of 2013, we are starting to see the return via our income. In addition, we are seeing more househunters to ESPC.com, with the average views per property per week up 60% year on year between July and September."

Since the year end, in August ESPC restructured the business with the controlling rights for ESPC Ltd, a company limited by guarantee, passing to the ESPC member firms who individually became £1 guarantors.

On this development Mr Stimpson added: “The outgoing non-executive directors and myself are delighted to passing ESPC in such a strong position to the new board. The board will drive sensible revenue growth over the coming year, which will be reinvested to strengthen and support the ESPC membership in the highly competitive property marketplace.”

The new board members, voted in at the ESPC AGM on 13 November are: Sue Calder, business development partner, Pagan Osborne; Craig Forster, property partner, Allan McDougall; Allan Hartley, finance director, Mactaggart & Mickel; Gordon Kerr, director, Morton Fraser.

Gordon Kerr, the new ESPC chairman, said: “ESPC is such a vital resource for solicitor estate agents in East Central Scotland. Our aim is to build on the work to date and ensure that solicitor estate agents remain the number one choice for home sellers and buyers.”

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