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UK car retailer stock falters during difficult September

UK auto retail stocks were pushed down in September and are fairing worse than auto retail stocks in the US, despite the seemingly worse financial situation across the Atlantic.

According to the latest Stockwatch from corporate finance specialist Houlihan Lokey, it's now getting to the stage where UK auto retailers are oversold.

Inchcape’s shares were the biggest casualty of the stockmarket turmoil.

Philip Wylie, Houlihan Lokey director, said: “News that it had sold five of its six Volvo franchised retail businesses in the UK to Mill Garages for £3m but had to keep the property, highlights that the banks just did not want to lend on this element of the deal, rather than Inchcape’s desire to keep the property.”

He said the other news from Inchcape was that Ken Hanna Cadbury’s chief financial officer, who is already a non-executive director at Inchcape, is going to step up to the chairman’s position and resign from the confectionary group next year. He will replace Peter Johnson who announced in May that he was going to step down as chairman.

Lookers shares got support early in September from a positive note from Edison investment research.

Wylie said: “This highlighted the group’s aftermarket focus, which it estimates contributes around 21% of revenue but 61% of operating profit. The market sentiment turned around on September 10 and the share price fell from around 62p to end the month at just over 46p – a decline of over 25%.”

By comparison, the decline in Pendragon’s share price was marginal, although it benefited from speculation in early September that there was stake building as share trading spiked up.

In the smaller market capitalisation stocks, HR Owen shares suffered a steep fall –perhaps spurred by crashes in the Russian stock market and concerns that its rich Russian customers might suddenly desert them.



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