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Inchcape reports strong first half of the year

Inchcape is expecting its full year results to be “broadly in line” with 2007, despite worsening economic conditions.

Reported pre-tax profit for the half-year grew to £130.3 million from £124.8m on sales up 5.1% to £3.3 billion from £3.1bn the prior year.

The group lifted the interim dividend by 4% to 5.46 pence from 5.25 pence.

The UK vehicle market slowed significantly in the latter part of May and through June, resulting in Inchcape's new car sales declining in the first half of this year by 1.6% on 2007, with both private cars and business registrations impacted. Inchcape intends to focus on the premium segment of the market.

Inchcape's UK retail business delivered a performance ahead of the market with like for like sales of £1,247m, 1.5% up on 2007. Total trading profits in the retail business declined versus 2007 by 8.6%.

Peter Johnson, Inchcape chairman said the execution of the group's strategy remains on track as it benefits from an increased exposure to emerging markets following the acquisition of Russian-based Musa Motors Group in April.

He said: “We have a robust business model with an excellent geographic portfolio diversification and scale relationships with our brand partners. We also have a strong balance sheet and sufficient facilities in place to support our growth plans.

“Despite deteriorating economic conditions in a number of our markets, we expect our results to be broadly in line with 2007."

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