News Column

Lookers Lifts Interim Dividend 10% As Profits Jump On Revenue Rise

August 13, 2014

Sam Unsted

LONDON (Alliance News) - Lookers PLC posted Wednesday a big rise in pretax profit in the first half and hiked its interim dividend on the back of a jump in revenue driven by a record performance in its motor franchise division and strong growth in new-car volumes and margins, along with growth in its used-car volumes, after sales and after-market parts businesses.

Pretax profit for the car retailer and distributor in the six months to June 30 were up 38% to GBP37.7 million, against GBP27.4 million a year earlier. That jump came on the back of a 29% rise in revenue to GBP1.6 billion from GBP1.24 billion last year.

The higher profit pushed the group to hike its interim dividend by 10% to 0.97 pence per share from 0.88 pence last year.

The performance was driven largely by the group's motor division, consisting of 127 franchised dealerships, which increased pretax profit in the first half by 43% to GBP37.5 million from GBP26.3 million last year. Since the start of this year, Lookers added seven businesses in the South East of England to the division through the acquisition of Colborne Garages Ltd, which it bought in March for GBP33.6 million.

In its new cars arm, the company said core retail new car sales were up 15% year-on-year, with gross profit per unit on those sales rising 5%. It also saw volumes in the fleet sector rise 19% on the back of investment in the business, with profits per unit in that unit slightly higher too.

Used car sales volumes were up 5%, with gross profit per unit up 7%, while revenue in its aftersales business was up 6%. Its parts division also grew revenue by 6%, with pretax profit rising 5% to GBP6.9 million.

"Lookers is well placed to take advantage of further growth opportunities in the new and used car markets and increased demand for aftersales and parts," said Lookers Chief Executive Andy Bruce.

"This gives us confidence that we can continue to grow the business and deliver improved results for the full year," Bruce added.

Lookers shares were up 1.9% at 136.55 pence early Wednesday.

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Source: Alliance News

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