For the year ending February 28, 2011, profit before tax was 22 per cent and revenue was also up 22 per cent to £998.9m.
The group’s new car sales volumes rose on a like-for-like basis by 1.2 per cent against a market decline of 10.5 per cent, while Vertu’s market share of private retail market has increased from 1.4 per cent in 2008 to 2.4 per cent in 2011.
Used car like-for-like volumes performed even more strongly, though. Volumes of used cars rose 7.1 per cent, and new aftersales initiatives were successfully introduced – like-for-like gross profit growth of £1.5m with growth of sales and profits were witnessed in all areas of aftersales activities.
Sales outlets increased from 59 to 75 including the Nissan Darlington site, and a new Nissan dealership in Glasgow is expected to open in July.
‘The group has had a successful year’
However, while the year’s results look good, current trading and outlook is not as strong, although it is ahead of the group’s expectations.
The group’s new car retail like-for-like volumes are down 10.4 per cent against a wider decline of 18.6 per cent, and used car volumes are down nine per cent partly due to stronger margins.
Vertu Motors’ chief executive, Robert Forrester, said: ‘The group has had a successful year with the two key elements of the group’s strategy, growth through acquisition and improving aftersales, both contributing to a significant increase of 22 per cent in underlying profit.
‘We introduced a dividend for shareholders for the first time this year, which marks a significant milestone in the development of the group.
‘Current trading in March and April has been stronger than anticipated. Whilst the new vehicle supply constraints arising from the natural disaster in Japan in March pose a short term uncertainty, in the medium term new vehicle sales are set to rise and start to climb back to pre-recession levels. Used car sales and aftersales remain areas of significant opportunity particularly in the acquired businesses.
‘Going forward the group’s growth strategy remains in place, as we look to benefit from our strong balance sheet and the structural growth opportunities available to acquisitive motor retail businesses in what remains a highly fragmented market.’