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Lower profits, new chief executive and Renault dealership at Reg Vardy plc

Chairman Peter Vardy, announcing Reg Vardy plc results for the half-year to October 31, said it was "a solid result in difficult circumstances".

The company also announced today the purchase of a Renault dealership in the north east.

Reg Vardy's pre-tax profits were £9m, compared with £14.5m last year.

Mr Vardy said operating profits were only 8% down but the group was forced to make a £4.2m provision for lower used car stock values.

"The unprecedented fall in vehicle values made 2000 one of the most difficult for the motor industry in the past three decades," he said.

Group finance director Gerard Murray (left) will become chief executive on May 1. Mr Vardy has combined that role with chairman since Graeme Potts left to head the RAC two years ago.

"I will concentrate on strategy and manufacturer relationships," said Mr Vardy.

Reg Vardy plc turnover was £656m, compared with £667m.

Earnings per share 11.1p (1999 - 17.7p). Interim dividend 3.7p (1999 - 3.5p). Meanwhile, the company has bought the Renault dealership, located at Gilesgate in Durham City, from Minories, who are part of the Lancaster Group.

Mike Rich, divisional director for Reg Vardy Renault, said: "Reg Vardy has an exceptional relationship with all of our manufacturer partners, including Renault. This is because of the heavy weight investment that we put into ensuring that our business is extremely successful."

The acquisition means that Reg Vardy now operate 12 Renault franchised dealerships, making them the French marques' largest independent dealer network and the company now sells more than 10 per cent of all of the new Renault vehicles sold in the UK.

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