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Aftersales help boost Inchcape profits

Inchcape has revealed that reported profit before tax for its financial year ending December 31, 2009 was up from £108.2 million in 2008 to £136.7 million last year.

Pre-exceptional profit before tax fell from £190.7m to £155.1m over the same period and reported revenue from sales was down from £6.3 billion to £5.6 billion.

The group’s operating cashflow increased from £183.7 million to £336.7 million and the business is now debt free.

Half of Inchcape’s profits came from its aftersales business which many other businesses will be looking to in order to ride out the tough second half of 2010.

André Lacroix, Inchcape chief executive officer, said: “The group has delivered a resilient financial performance with record operating cash flow, demonstrating the success of our responsive management of the global downturn and the defensive strengths of Inchcape’s unique business model.

“In the second half of 2009 we saw strong growth in the UK, where we have continued to outperform the industry and both the Australian and Hong Kong markets have started to recover.”

Lacroix said it expected business in the UK to decline this year and wasn’t expecting a global recovery to start until towards the end of 2010.

He said: "Nevertheless, we believe that the group has the financial strength and flexibility both to continue to trade effectively and to further improve its competitive position.

"We remain confident in our ability to deliver a robust performance in 2010 and we are uniquely positioned to benefit from the recovery in global demand."

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