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Vertu to raise £30m to acquire new sites

Vertu has posted a pre-tax profit of £72,000 for the year to end-February, against £140,000 for its preliminary results for the 16 months to end-February 2008, but said it had outperformed the UK car market.

The group is now raising £30 million to help invest in new dealerships and it said it was trading ahead of expectations. Vertu is also looking to purchase up the freeholds of existing leasehold sites.

Vertu saw an operating profit of £2.1m for the year ended February 2008 in comparison to an operating profit of £1.3m for the 16 month period to February 2007.

Robert Forrester, Vertu chief executive, said: “Despite challenging market conditions in the year the group has delivered a consistent level of operating profit on a pro-forma basis.

“We are pleased with our robust performance. Subsequent to the year end, trading has been ahead of the board’s expectations, with profits up year on year.

“While the market will remain challenging for the foreseeable future, the group is well positioned to take advantage of opportunities arising.”

Forrester believes that the current fragmented condition of the UK motor retail sector will allow Vertu to acquire “good businesses at low valuations”.

New car volumes fell 2.4% on a like-for-like basis and used retail volumes grew 10.5% on the same basis.
Revenue for the year was £760.8m, against £677.2m for the prior 14-month period.

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