ESPC turnaround strategy on track

The Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre (ESPC) posted its 2011 financial results today, revealing net profits of £1.461m, up £821k on last year’s £641K figure.

The increase in profit marks a further improvement in the finances of the company that had been generating significant losses between 2006 and 2009. Malcolm Cannon, CEO at the ESPC said, "Like many businesses, the past few years have given us many financial headaches as we struggled to cope through the global financial crisis, the slowdown in the housing market and the tightening of mortgage lending.

"There is no doubt that in 2009 the company faced difficult decisions and was in a weak financial position. Our cost base was too high for the volume of house sales, we were operating with a substantial overdraft and relying on the support of our membership. We put a strategy in place for turning around the business over the following three years.  This involved various cost saving measures and a much stronger focus on our core business - that is providing the things that help our member solicitor firms and the people of Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife who are buying and selling property.  After all, that's what we're here to do. I am pleased to report that this approach is working and we are in a stronger place with brighter options for the future".

Currently marketing over 11,000 properties a year, the ESPC offers a combination of services in the local property market by providing access to a network of solicitor estate agents.  It also offers independent financial advice through its Money Management arm. Their "Ask the Experts" service allows access to a wide variety of specialists who can help with all things property related.

Malcolm Cannon continued, "This year's results are good news as it means that we're ahead of schedule at this stage in the strategy - we didn't expect to be at this stage until spring next year.

Our volumes are better than planned, and all parts of the business remain profitable. We have been taking a prudent view to the health of the market and will continue to do so.

"We have a new improved website, better IT infrastructure, and strong marketing initiatives to help protect and improve on our market share. Home sellers receive unrivalled exposure for their property through ESPC and in many cases is the only tool needed to find a buyer.

"We have a highly skilled and experienced team who has worked very hard through the last two difficult years.  And we now have a profitable business model that makes us better placed to cope with any future risks."