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JCT600 bounces back after suffering £6m loss

Yorkshire’s JCT600 group thinks it is in better health now than it has ever been. The recession has hit hard: 100 people lost their jobs. But vital improvements in efficiency have given the company far greater dynamism and sense of purpose. 

Chief executive John Tordoff is keen to point out that from a position where they lost £6 million on ordinary activities before tax from a year of frantic activity, they have reached the point where they are now lending the bank money. 

The loss was after asset value write-downs, and compares with a profit of £11 million the previous year and a peak profit of £18 million in 2005.

But the 2008 accounts just published show that the 42-site group is still a very wealthy company. 

Retained profit sits at £78 million and the freehold land and buildings are worth £56 million compared with a debt of £27 million.

There has been substantial emphasis on used car trading which is up 30% year-on-year. 

New car sales are down 10% which is 15% better than the market. 

The company has just installed a new sales reporting process – a derivative of a proprietary system. 

Finance director Nigel Shaw said: “It is fantastic. It keeps us right on top of sales and has all the statistics we need to motivate the salesmen.”

The business has a history of growing sales at around the rate of inflation and getting growth from acquisitions. 

There is now greater chance of and appetite for driving the margins. 

But the ambition for buying businesses remains and the difficult economic climate is still driving opportunities into its nets. 

The company said a year ago that it wanted an Audi franchise and has now acquired the Gilder group run by Gary Scotting which has a showroom in each of York and Hull. 

Both of them are co-located with the JCT600 Volkswagen dealerships which makes management of them extremely simple.

“It feels to us here that we are doing better and better. We are ticking all the boxes on the CSIs for the manufacturers and our profit is significantly outperforming,” Shaw said.

The expectation is that financial results at the end of this year will beat last year hands down, but will probably not reach the heady heights of 2007.

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