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Lookers promises further acquisitions on back of strong results

Growing new and used car sales has helped Lookers achieve a record financial performance, oultined in its preliminary results for the year ended December 31.

Turnover rose 16% to £1.43 billion (2005: £1.23 billion), with adjusted profit before tax up 47% to £26.4 million (2005: £18 million), compared to Lookers’ forecast of £25.1 million in April.

Highlights for the 12 month period included a rise in new car sales up 5% against a market down 4%; like-for-like used car retail sales up 6%; the addition of 18 ‘prestige’ outlets with key manufacturer partners, including Chrysler Dodge and Jeep, Land Rover and Lexus and the purchase of 16 from HR Owen for £26.3 million.

New car sales, Lookers said in a statement today, represented only 27% of gross profit “in line with strategy to broaden revenue streams” from, for example used car supermarkets and parts distribution.

Ken Surgenor, Lookers’ chief executive, said: “These record results and excellent performance, reflect the continued implementation of our successful strategy, including the development of complementary business streams, close relationships with manufacturer partners and a de-centralised management structure which delivers superior returns from the franchises we operate.

“We have a number of acquisition opportunities under review. We intend to use our strong balance sheet and cash flow to make suitable and earnings enhancing acquisitions.

Lookers chairman Philip White, chief executive, Henry Surgenor and finance director David Dyson have all increased their stakes in the car dealership company by acquiring shares at £1.98 each.

White acquired 15,000 shares yesterday, taking his stake to 29,300 shares, while Surgenor and Dyson today bought 50,000 shares and 10,000 shares, giving them respective holdings of around £1.06 million shares and 234,759 shares.

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