NEWSWATCH: HACAS builds on success.

The AIM-listed group, which reported profits of £640,000 last year, is expected to reveal a rise of around 36% to £870,000 for the year to September. Most famously Hacas is the former employer of government housing minister – and short-lived London mayoral candidate – Nick Raynsford. It is a group very much built on New Labour principles of partnership between the public and private sectors. It has even set up an all-employee share scheme. But it specialises in advising social landlords on stock transfers, funding issues and IT. It works for some of the largest local authorities such as Glasgow city council and a majority of the largest housing associations though it also advises government departments and regulators like the Housing Corporation, Scottish Homes and the Audit Commission. More recently, it has also branched out to advise Eastern European governments – including advising the government of the Czech Republic on housing policies. Last year saw it set up HACAS Asset Management Services, which advises on housing stock condition management and forecasting for local authorities and housing associations, and HACAS Exchequer Services. This arm is particularly active in the growing stock transfer market and has helped to raise some £700 million in its first year of operations. Next week’s results announcement will mark Hacas’ first full year of trading as a public company. With analysts expecting the group to continue to benefit from the government’s policy of widening the pool of social landlords – profit growth of almost 20% is pencilled in for 2000 – it is likely retain a profile in the City that is the envy of many older, and larger, public companies.

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