Lookers bucks national dip in new car sales

Lookers

Manchester-based car retail group Lookers has overcome a 1.3% decline in the UK new cars market to 1.4 million vehicles to hit record pre-tax profits of more than £50m.

The listed company also increased its revenue by 5% to £2.46bn in the half year to June 30.

Adjusted profit before tax of £50.2m was well up year-on-year compared to £42.6m in the same period last year.

Its figures cover the first reporting period following Lookers’ successful integration of the significant acquisitions made during the second half of 2016 and the sale of its parts division in November, 2016.

The group consists of 155 franchised dealerships representing 32 manufacturers from 100 locations.

Lookers chief executive Andy Bruce said: “We continue to produce record levels of profit which is evidence of the success of our expansive and resilient business model.

“We have made good progress with our strategy of having the right brands in the right locations with excellent execution and have managed our portfolio of dealerships to reflect that.

“Our order book for new cars for the important month of September is continuing to build in line with our expectations and the new car market for this year is still forecast to be at a historically high level.

“We therefore believe that the company is well positioned to continue its strong performance and deliver sustainable value to shareholders.”

Meanwhile, the company has invested £19.7m of capital expenditure during the period in improving dealership facilities.

It also received £3m for the sale of surplus properties which was significantly lower than the prior year when cash flow was greatly improved by the receipt of £18.1m from the sale of its Battersea property.

Net debt reduced to £61.9m compared to £74.1m at the start of the year and £74.9m, at June 30, 2016.

The comparative is before Lookers acquired the Knights BMW business in August, 2016, which added £13m to net debt in terms of new property loans.

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