The Mail on Sunday
CPP growing at a cracking pace
CARD PROTECTION SERVICE’S EXPANSION INTO FOREIGN MARKETS SHOULD BEAR FRUIT SOON
MILLIONS of people are taking their first holiday of the year this weekend and most will return home refreshed and invigorated. But for some the experience will be blighted by the loss of a passport, wallet, mobile phone or other essential item.
CPP Group aims to take the stress out of these moments. The company specialises in card protection services, promising customers to cancel and reissue cards, provide emergency cash, replace keys, handbags, wallets, passports and any other valuable documents with just one phone call from anywhere in the world.
Other insurers claim to offer card protection, but CPP believes its service is more convenient and comprehensive than most. Businesses seem to agree.
The company sells most of its policies through banks and credit card issuers and it now works with more than 200 business partners worldwide, including most High Street banks. It also offers other services, including identity protection and phone insurance.
As people use the internet for everything from buying contact lenses to researching exam papers to staying in touch with friends, it is increasingly easy for strangers to find lots of information about them.
This data can be used for complex identity theft, where hackers will use your name to create forged credit cards and documents, or even to access porn sites on the web under someone else’s name. CPP helps people who have been affected in this way to reinstate their identity, recoup any losses incurred and prevent the same situation recurring.
The group works with T-Mobile as well, insuring customers when their phone is lost, damaged or stolen. This division accounts for ten per cent of CPP’s revenues and it is expected to grow substantially over the next five to ten years.
Phones are increasingly sophisticated and the amount of data stored on them is expanding. Once, people simply stored important phone numbers on them, but as ‘smart’ phones such as the iPhone become smarter, customers are expected to store more data, including bank payments and a host of other confidential information.
CPP can make sure this information becomes inaccessible as soon as a phone is stolen and can retrieve it for customers so it can be easily reinstated into a new one.
The company was founded 30 years ago by entrepreneur Hamish Ogston, 61, whose career began in the merchant navy. In 2003, he handed over the running of CPP to Eric Woolley, who has spent 20 years working in senior roles in large companies and investment banks.
Over the past few years, the group has grown at a cracking pace, increasing core profits from £33 million in 2007 to £49.5 million last year. CPP now operates in 14 countries and sold ten million policies last year. Each year, 80 per cent of policies are renewed so as CPP expands into new countries and new products the impact on sales and profits should be significant.
The company floated on the stock market only last month to enable Ogston to make some money after three decades in the business, but also to give the group greater stature with business partners, particularly overseas, and to allow it to expand.
Ogston has retained 61 per cent of the company, so he remains committed to its success and the group intends to pay out 40 per cent of posttax earnings as dividends.
Midas verdict: CPP floated at 235p and is now trading at 256p so it has gained some ground even in the past few weeks. But there should be plenty more momentum in the shares.
Over the past few years, the com- pany has expanded into several new countries, such as Turkey, Mexico, Hong Kong, Singapore and India. These investments should bear fruit in the next two to three years and CPP also expects to start operating in China this year.
The company describes itself as offering ‘life assistance’ and, as people globally become more affluent, lead more complex lives and have less time to manage their affairs, they need all the assistance that they can get.
CPP is a robust business at an interesting point in its development. Buy.