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Lookers boosts profits to £10.1m

Lookers plc has posted an impressive 55% increase in pre-tax profits to £10.1m for 2001 on turnover up 23% to £718m.

Fred Maguire, Lookers chairman, said the group's record results reflected strong management and strict financial controls combined with an ability to "consistently win" market share.

Lookers, which took large dealer group silver in the AM Awards, enjoyed strong growth in retail sales, in line with an overall market increase of 22% last year.

The introduction of cash for cars schemes due to changes in kind taxation on company cars, reduced car prices and low interest rates accounted for much of the activity in retail sales.

"The outlook for the UK car market is encouraging with a continued shift to higher margin retail sales - the current year has started well," said Mr Maguire.

"The investment we have made across the group positions us strongly to deliver continued good growth in 2002."

Despite the acquisition of new dealerships and several relocations during 2001, Lookers reduced its gearing from 67% to 56% after implementing strict working capital controls.

The new management structure introduced in June also helped the group to operate more effectively with greater franchise focus and tighter control across the network.

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