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A good year for Just Car Clinics

Just Car Clinics, the country’s second largest group of independent bodyshops with 13 sites, has unveiled an impressive set of results for the first half of the year. Pre-tax profits are up 27% to £386,609 on a turnover up 8% to £13.56m.

The business has certainly given a good return for its investors since it floated on AIM in January 2003 as the result of a management led buy-out from Dixon Motors. The shares came to market at 8p and are currently trading at 43p.

However, despite the good results, the body repair business is still only giving Just Car Clinics a net pre-tax profit of £28.50 on an average £1,000 repair job.

This lags behind the £51.65 per £1,000 job achieved in the first three months of this year by Nationwide Accident Repair Services plc, but that includes profits from its accident management business.

In an exclusive interview with AM, Barry Whittles, managing director of Just Car Clinics, has revealed details of its successful strategy for growth, including:

  • The acquisition of its 14th site, which will open before Christmas in Scarborough
  • It is currently in negotiations for another two sites for completion before the end of 2006
  • Its target is 20 to 25 sites, including moving across into Manchester/Liverpool, up into Newcastle and down to the Midlands

    On the new Thatcham/ BSI kitemark (PAS125) for bodyshops, Whittles says: “It has our absolute and full support. All those involved in putting the standard together have done an excellent job and two of our branches will be pilot sites for Thatcham/BSI to help train the BSI auditors.

    “We want this kitemark standard for all of our sites as quickly as possible.”

    At the end of last year, Just Car Clinics invested £100,000 in a new 6,000 sq ft training centre in Humberside. So far this year it has had 120 customer facing staff and 180 technicians on courses at the centre.

    The new facility has also come into its own in relation to the current debate on Boron steel repairs. “We recognized the safety implications for this type of repair, so we contracted with Car-O-Liner to supply the latest spot welding and Mig brazing equipment to all our branches,” says Whittles.

    “At the same time we ensured that every one of our panel technicians received comprehensive metal technology and welding training on these ultra high strength steels at our new training facility.”

    Just Car Clinics takes pride in its corporate client relationships with recent contract wins covering all sites for both Axa and Fortis. However, Whittles says: “We are not afraid to walk away from unprofitable business and have done so this year with two accident management companies.”

    Overall, Whittles says: “Everything we do in our business is based on PCP: People, Customers, Profit.”

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