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Inchcape AGM sees non-executives step down

Inchcape has announced that Karen Guerra and Raymond Ch'ien will step down as non-executive directors today at its AGM.

Ch'ien has been in the role for 11 years, while Guerra had served for three years.

The company told the AGM in a statement that its first quarter trading was ahead of internal expectations and it is benefiting from the weakness of the pound in translating its overseas profits.

Total sales were down 13% (21% in constant currency), and like for like sales were 22% lower than the prior year.

However, Inchcape said its businesses in the UK had performed better than expected, boosted by used car margins.



The quarter's operating profit before the impact of foreign currency call options was down 48% (down 55% in constant currency)­. The net operating profit impact in the quarter of the sterling foreign currency call options was a charge of £2.9m. The total cost of these options for the full year remains £8.7m.


Its unaudited reported pre-tax profit for the quarter of £20.0m is down 69% (down 74% in constant currency) on what was a record first quarter last year and is slightly better than expected as a result of stronger performances from the UK and Singapore markets together with the resilience of its aftersales business.


Its expectation for year end net debt remains unchanged at approximately £150m (at constant currency).




"Although markets remain very difficult, the Group delivered solid profitability in the first quarter of 2009, as the execution of our five operational priorities (growing market share and aftersales, while reducing costs, working capital and capital expenditure) continued to gain traction. Whilst this is an encouraging start, our expectations for the full year remain unchanged on a constant currency."


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