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Just Car Clinics looks to acquisitions

Just Car Clinics Group plc has revealed interim results showing a 7.4% rise in turnover and a near tripling of profit before tax.

In the six months to June 30 the independent collision repair chain achieved turnover of £12.55m (2004: 11.68m) and pre-tax profit of £315,000 (2004: £111,000), with a gross margin improvement from 42% to 43%.

Barry Whittles, Just Car Clinics’ chief executive, said: "I am delighted with these results which reflect the Group's ability to attract additional contracts with insurers and other work providers. We are confident that the successes of the first six months will be continued and believe that the prospects for the future growth of the group are very good."

Overall price increases have been approximately 2.5% with an underlying 4.9% volume increase.

Cost control remains a focus of the group and net operating expenses have remained at approximately 39% of sales.

Whittles said Just Car Clinics was keen to exploit acquisition opportunities.

"Consolidation of operators and locations is a continuing feature of the sector, and the group intends to participate in this trend. A number of potential targets have been investigated during 2005, with some negotiations still in progress and other opportunities still to be pursued."

He also acknowledged the importance of employing good staff.

"A skilled and dedicated team is essential to achieving good margins and therefore effective training remains crucial to the group's success. Accordingly, our apprentice training program has been expanded and the group has negotiated a lease for a bespoke training facility, to be fully equipped for technical, customer service and IT systems training. It is anticipated that this new facility will be operational before the end of 2005," Whittles said.

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