The day before revealing turnover up by £284.9m to £1.61bn and a 17.5% rise in profit before tax to £45.6m, the group finalised its purchase of the £10.5m turnover Hartlepool dealership H Tones & Sons for £2m. A few days later it bought Renault Retail Group’s Leeds outlet for £5.3m. Those deals were on top of the 18 new dealer acquisitions or openings since May 1, 2003, bringing the network total to 93 dealerships.
Chief executive Sir Peter Vardy says the continued impact of block exemption is stimulating consolidation in the sector. “This is greatly assisting us as we look forward to advancing past our near term target of 100 dealerships,” he adds. “Once this milestone is reached the group will continue to expand, using the strength of its balance sheet.” April 2005 is Vardy’s 100 outlets deadline.
Further acquisitions should take Vardy firmly into £2bn turnover territory in its eight operating regions. Finance director Robert Forrester says: “There are plenty of opportunities out there, and current low levels of borrowing will allow us to continue to invest in new dealerships on an ongoing basis and ensure excellent facilities are provided to customers and our manufacturing partners.”