Car retailer accelerates progress

Car retailer Pendragon accelerated progress at the end of last year, with profits overtaking expectations.

Last month a £400m takeover bid by Hedin was pulled, blaming “challenging market conditions”.

But this morning the Nottingham-based group, which includes Evans Halshaw and Stratstone, has revealed “a strong underlying trading performance more than offsetting higher operating and interest cost pressures”.

Bill Berman, chief executive of Pendragon, said: “We closed out the year with a positive performance in the final quarter, which saw volume growth in both new and used vehicle sales.

“Despite the numerous challenges we have faced across our markets and in the economy at large, we performed strongly in 2022 and this shows the benefits of the improvements made across the business in recent years.”

The group said the new car order bank “remains strong” and it is optimistic that new car supply “may be beginning to improve” – which would be expected to lead to an increase in new car volumes this year.

Pendragon expects to announce underlying pre-tax profits of £57m for 2022 when it publishes its full-year figures in March. Although this is significantly below the previous year, of £83m, it was slightly ahead of market expectations.