Perrys, which earlier this year sold off its motor retailing division to concentrate on its Nationwide accident repair business, has recorded a profit and turnover fall in its preliminary results in the year ended December 31, 2000.
How the group will fare in Year 2001, is also “difficult to predict”.
Profit before tax and exceptionals was £1.6m (1999: £3.7m), while turnover dropped from £446.5m in 1999 to £418.5m.
Richard Allan, Perry's chairman, said: “The results reflect the fact that 2000 was an excetionally challenging year for motor retailing. Group turnover fell by 6.3% as a result of the disposal or closure of motor vehicle dealerships, lower retail sales of new and used cars and reducing new car prices.”
The case to sell the motor division under these pressures, Mr Allan said, was “overwhelming”.
The motor division was sold last month for £25.9m to two members of its management team, Ken Savage and Paul Millard, who have created a new company called Pearlglass (See the 'See Also' section on the right of this article).
Mr Allan said of Perrys accident repair business: “Nationwide is the UK market leader by a big margin yet its share of the £5 billion accident repair market is tiny. The sector is ripe for consolidation and Nationwide is well-placed to achieve significant growth,” Mr Allan said.
He said the growth would be organic and through acquisitions.
The rate of expansion “will take into account the need to control the integration of new bodyshop's and the boards determination to maintain the financial position”.
Mr Allan said Perrys will be working with insurance companies to help them outsource operations associated with accident management and repair “which will reduce costs to our mutual benefit”.
The Nationwide Crash Repair Centre network consists of 64 sites handling in excess of 140,000 repairs a year. Perry has a 3% share of the market.
The repair division generated a profit, before exceptionals, of £3.2m (1999: £2.2m) with turnover at £111.4m, 12.3% higher than in 1999.