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Walsall-based HomeServe expands into US with £108m takeover

By James Pugh | Walsall | Business | Published:

Walsall-based repairs business HomeServe has expanded across the pond for the first time with a £108 million swoop on a US business.

HomeServe is expanding into the US

HomeServe, which has its head office off Green Lane in Walsall, has exported its Home Experts business to American firm eLocal Holdings.

HomeServe revealed it was taking a 79 per cent stake in the business, giving it a profitable foothold in the North American market.

The deal also gives London-listed HomeServe the right to buy the rest of the company in time.

"We are delighted to have agreed to buy a majority shareholding in eLocal," said chief executive Richard Harpin.

HomeServe chief executive Richard Harpin

Bruce Aronow, eLocal's founder, said: "The entire eLocal team is extremely excited to have been chosen as the platform to build the Home Experts business in the US."

The Home Experts unit includes Checkatrade in the UK, Spain's Habitissimo, and Home Experts France. It turned over £40 million in the last financial year.

Analysts at Liberum said the acquisition "clearly provides a strong foundation from which to launch HomeServe's ambitions in North America".

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"We expect HomeServe management to grow it and invest in it," they added, highlighting the company's 40 per cent expected organic growth this year.

It came as HomeServe said it had grown pre-tax profit by two per cent year-on-year in the last six months.

Profit before tax was £19.7 million, while revenue grew 13 per cent to £458 million, after acquisitions of heating and ventilation companies.

Parts of the business have performed at the top of expectations, but management said its outlook remains unchanged, apart from a £4.5 million addition to adjusted operating profit from the acquisition of eLocal.

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"I am very pleased with our financial performance and strategic progress in the first half of this year," said Mr Harpin.

"All of our membership businesses performed well, with North America continuing to deliver strong growth, and interesting opportunities in all our European businesses to develop new partnerships, harness new technology and continue to improve customer service and efficiency."

Investors reacted well to the news, sending shares up 6.26 per cent to 1,273p on Tuesday.

James Pugh

By James Pugh
@JamesP_Star

Shropshire Star Business and Farming Editor.

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