JCT600, the Bradford-based multi-franchised dealer group ranked 28 in the AM100, suffered a 15% fall in like-for-like profits last year due largely to the steep fall in residual values.
The headline figures were that profits totalled £4.3m and turnover was up 1% to £242m.
The company was hit hardest by the reduced profits on the sale of end-of-life contract hire vehicles, exacerbated by the Government's enquiry into new car prices which caused instability in the market.
An exceptional charge of £0.4m has been made to cover losses on Motability contract hire returns and there is also a new property depreciation charge, as required under accounting standards, of £0.4m.
Commenting on the year, JCT600's chairman, Jack Tordoff, said: “I am pleased with how we have faced up to the challenge of these very difficult market conditions. Our results look good in comparison with the rest of the industry and our return on sales is still way ahead of most motor groups.
“Our strong balance sheet, with retained profits of £26m and gearing of only 30%, means we are well placed to take advantage of future expansion opportunities and already in 2001 we have acquired Toyota in Bradford and have plans to become a major player with this franchise. Two other up-market opportunities are also under consideration.”
Mr Tordoff said the current year has started well, with early signs of customer confidence returning into the new car market and more stable used car values.
“Trading profits for the first quarter are well ahead of last year's performance and we look forward to the future with confidence,” he said.