Acquisitions pay dividends
Cash Converters International has revealed record profits for its UK arm as it doubled group post-tax profits to AUS$4.3 million (£1.7 million) for the six months to December 31, 2006.

The retailer and pawn broker said that the results reflected the impact of its acquisitions of the Safrock Group and Mon-e in October last year, and that the integration of the businesses had been 'seamless'. Mon-e provides the software program and back-office support for Cash Converters franchisees to make cash advances to their customers, while the Safrock group of companies makes loans to Cash Converters customers, using the franchises as its agents.

The UK division (CCUK) recorded a profit before tax of AUS$224,516 (£90,554), after good growth in new franchisees as well as existing franchisees becoming multiple store-owners.

Store openings over the next few months will take the UK portfolio to 125. The company is presently in the middle of a company-owned store roll-out programme. A fifth store opened at St Helens in November last year; the first opened in Bolton in November 2004. The retailer has a target of 45 corporate stores.

The UK online auction site recorded sales of£250,000, with one-third of stores using the site to upload a minimum amount of their stock and Cash Converters UK receiving a commission on all sales. The group expects the site to develop into a significant income stream over the next few years as more franchisees begin using the service. It receives an average 1,630 hits per day.

Cash Converters UK said that awareness levels had risen significantly following last year's TV and national and regional press campaigns. A set of five TV commercials, including dedicated ads for the online offer, will launch in March.

Cashconverters is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.