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Pendragon half-year profit rises

Pendragon plc today announced a pre-tax profit of £13.3m to June 30, up from £10.5m in the first-half of 2000.

Chief executive Trevor Finn said: "Our performance clearly demonstrates the effective application of Pendragon's strategy.

"We have grown the company by becoming bigger with fewer manufacturers and the approach is paying off as customer confidence returns."

Pendragon has sold or closed five dealerships this year, severing its links with Saab, Toyota, Suzuki and Mazda. Last month, it opened five Mini outlets.

Mr Finn said trading for all brands had improved this year, with the exception of Jaguar. He blamed this on customers waiting for the X-type, now on sale.

Pendragon continues to make a loss on its Ford dealerships, run as a joint venture with the manufacturer. The deficit was reduced to £600,000, from £700,000 in the first-half of 2000.

Mr Finn said: "We are seeing a steady improvement with Ford but are not yet achieving a satisfactory return."

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