Canadian Underwriter

Broker consolidators on “winning” track

October 1, 2001   by Canadian Underwriter

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Broker consolidator Hi-Alta Capital Inc. (TSE: HIA), parent of the Western Insurance Network (WIN), reports strong growth for the first six months of 2001. The company, which operates mainly in Western Canada offering a wide range of financial products including insurance, saw revenue and net income rise over last year.

Net income growth jumped by 380% compared with the first half of 2000, up to $556.9 million from $115.8 million. Earnings per share rose from nil last year to $0.05 for the first six months of this year. Revenue grew by more than 15%, to $11.5 million in 2001, from $9.95 million reported for the same period last year.

Hi-Alta has been on the acquisition trail, and CEO Scott Tannas expects this to continue through coming months. “With recent equity financing, we expect to achieve our current goal of expanding to a total of 50 locations by the end of the first quarter of 2002.” The company also plans to expand its product base, he adds.

Competitor Vector Intermediaries (CDNX: VTE) is seeing its results continue to improve, if modestly, through the first half of 2001. Operating results were the best in Vector’s history, and operating margins continue to improve, the company states in a press release. Before tax earnings for the latest reporting period were $732,164, or $0.03 per share, compared with $425,722, or $0.04 per share, for the first half of 2000. However, the broker consolidator’s revenue was down for the six-month period, to $6,094,761, from $6,788,932 in 2000. The company experienced a net loss for the period, to the tune of $710,761, or equivalent to $0.06 per share. This is, however, an improvement on last year’s first -half loss of $1,268,806, or $0.14 per share. Vector has reinforced its intent to expand network operations, which currently include 11 offices in four provinces. It has also concentrated on its Internet offerings though its local brokerages and the national site,

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