Homeserve steps up international drive in Europe, Asia

Homeserve steps up international drive in Europe, Asia

LONDON- Reuters
Homeserve steps up international drive in Europe, Asia British repair and insurance firm Homeserve is in early-stage talks with utility companies to introduce its services in more than 10 countries, including Turkey, as it looks to step up its international expansion.

Chief Executive Richard Harpin told Reuters he was looking at 13 countries as candidates for potential entry and had hired a new member to his management team to help oversee approaches to large utilities, with which it aims to sign joint ventures.

Harpin, who set up the company 23 years ago, said in an interview he planned to approach utility companies in China, Mexico, Brazil, India, Japan, Turkey, Chile, South Korea, Taiwan, Czech Republic, Poland, Australia and the Netherlands.

Homeserve, which sells cover for household emergencies such as boiler breakdowns and burst water pipes, started its international expansion 15 years ago in France, with two-thirds of its customers now outside Britain.

The company said it would look to Poland, Czech Republic and Australia as its first priority, where existing utility partners such as Enel, Veolia aand Engie already operate.

“We are having early stage dialogue with some of those people,” said Giles Desforges, Homeserve CEO of Global Partnerships, who joined the company in December to lead its international expansion.

The decision to ramp up its international activity was helped by looking back at the shareholder value it had created from its four existing international markets in the United States, France, Spain and Italy, Harpin said.

“The biggest thing we learnt was that international adds real shareholder value because we built 700 million pounds of value at our four international businesses.”

The company said it planned invest 6 million pounds a year into its new markets, which includes its digital, innovation and smart home development businesses.

The long term aim, added Harpin, was to triple the number of international markets Homeserve operates in to 15 countries.

“I think we would be a highly successful business if we were getting 80 percent of our customers and profit from international,” said Harpin.

“That means in the long-term that we want to be in 15 markets which is the five that we are in today, plus another 10 of the 13,” he added.