Auto group accelerates revenues but sees profits slam into reverse

Smyth family, from left, Peter, David, Michael and John

Crewe-based Swansway Motor Group has accelerated its annual revenues, but seen a big drop in pre-tax profits for the 2023 financial year.

Turnover was £941m, compared with £819m in 2022, while a pre-tax profit of £13.4m compared with £22.3m the previous year.

EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) was £24m, down from £29m in the prior year’s results.

Swansway directors believe this is a strong financial result, given the black backdrop external to the automotive industry, including factors like the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and increased interest rates.

When reflecting on factors within the automotive industry, 2023 saw an environment where vehicle supply began to normalise, and the trade began to wrestle with electrification, they added.

They also reported that 2023 saw new car volume rise to near pre-pandemic levels, while used car sales increased by seven per cent as a direct year-for-year comparison.

The group will continue to place a huge focus on the used car area in the coming years as the industry moves towards an agency model.

Non-stakeholder borrowings decreased from £17m to £14m in 2023, aligning with the group’s strategy to reduce the interest burden on the business going forward.

Swansway Motor Group director, Peter Smyth, said: “Whilst profits declined when compared to 2022, we are starting to see the industry ‘normalise’.

“We are on a strong financial footing with £68m-worth of net assets, and we are poised, at short notice, to make the most of any opportunities that present themselves whilst the industry consolidates.”