HomeServe said its UK customer numbers continued to fall amid a Financial Services Authority investigation into marketing practices at the home repair and insurance company.
Richard Harpin, chief executive, said a 9 per cent fall in UK take-up rates was “very disappointing”.
The self-styled “fifth emergency service” originally estimated a 5 per cent fall in customers for 2011, which was later revised upwards to 8 per cent as the company continued to make changes to key marketing campaigns.
The FTSE 250 company has been in dialogue with the FSA over the way it markets insurance packages in the UK after an internal investigation last year revealed customers were not always clear on what they were sold.
In February the company, which insures about 3m people in the UK against broken boilers, burst pipes and electrical accidents, had to revise a £10m writedown upwards to £20m because of ongoing changes in the way it markets its home repair and insurance services.
It said on Thursday that it had received written feedback from the FSA on the changes and that it remained in dialogue with the City regulator.
Richard Harpin, chief executive, said HomeServe was still in line to meet full-year market expectations for 2012 of adjusted pre-tax profit between £116m and £128m.
However, Andy Brown, an analyst at Panmure Gordon, said he remained concerned about growth prospects for the company’s UK business in light of marketing changes. The UK business accounted for nearly three-quarters of total revenues in the first six months to September 2011.
“With some companies it is really important to get the numbers right – HomeServe isn’t in that category quite frankly. I don’t think it’s that relevant whether they meet a target or not,” Mr Brown said. “It’s more a case of have they sorted all their problems out,” he added.
HomeServe, which was forced to halt all inbound and outbound telephone sales in October, has now resumed inbound calls from customers with 14 of the 15 utility partners the company works with to sell its products. It offered no guidance for when it would start key outbound calls again.
In the US, its fastest-growing overseas market, HomeServe said it expected customer numbers to have increased by 15 per cent in 2012. HomeServe has partnerships with 21 utility companies in the US.
Shares, which have more than halved in value since HomeServe first announced it was in talks with the FSA, fell by 3.3p to 235.8p, a fall of 1.4 per cent.
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