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HR Owen pre-tax profits rise

HR Owen has posted pre-tax profits of £2.3 million for the year to December 2006, compared with a loss of £12.8 million a year earlier.

The dealer group made a £447,000 loss on continuing operations, but this was narrowed compared to the £10.7m loss in 2005.

Sales from continuing operations rose slightly to £246.3m from £236.9m.

However, the group, which has decided to focus on the luxury and specialist markets, said that BMW/Mini and Volvo -- the volume-orientated brands it has retained -- continued to be affected by market conditions and experienced a reduction in margins, although it added that luxury vehicle sales have continued to grow.

The group, which paid a dividend of 5 pence per share for 2005, said it will not be paying a dividend for 2006.

Chairman John MacArthur said the group had made an 'encouraging' start to 2007, with all parts of the business performing in line with expectations.

HR Owen announced in February that it intended to return £11.8m to shareholders, representing 50p per share. The group expects to carry out this capital return on April 10.

MacArthur said: “I am pleased to report that 2006 was a better year for HR Owen. All strategic disposals were completed as planned, and results at the operating level showed a considerable improvement over 2005. Details of the results can be found in The business review.

“It has been a major task to complete the disposal programme while at the same time carefully managing the remaining businesses. I would therefore like to thank all our employees for their exceptional efforts during the year.”

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