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Ryland to increase focus on luxury car market

Ryland Group is optimistic of the growing business opportunities in the luxury car sector as it today reported a growth in interim profits.

First half profit before tax, goodwill and exceptional items to the six months to June 30 was £1.7m (2000: £1m). Operating profit before goodwill from continuing operations was £4.6m (2000: £4.4m).

Peter Whale, Ryland chairman, said the “centre of gravity” of the group's franchise portfolio was moving towards the luxury car market and that attractive growth opportunities in this area were “steadily emerging”.

The group, he said, had identified the acquisitions necessary in the North east to assemble its Mercedes-Benz market area. Ryland is also in negotiations with MBUK on the disposal of its Manchester dealership, expected to be completed by the end of 2001.

Other developments in the interim period included the sale of Ryland's remaining Ford market area for Northamptonshire. Earlier this week Ryland announced the sale of all its Renault business. It is also in discussions on the withdrawal from Vauxhall which could be completed by the end of the year.

Ryland hopes to announce growth in its Premier Automotive Group operation in the North west around the turn of the year.

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