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HR Owen back in trading profit

Supercar dealer HR Owen has returned to profitable trading in the first half of 2010, with both sales and aftersales performing better than forecast.

The AM100 group, whose founder Nick Lancaster quit earlier this year along with three other board members, recorded a profit before tax and exceptional items of £1.5m against a 2009 first half loss of £1m.

Revenue rose 30% to £80.7m from £62.2m.

Chairman Jon Walden, who initiated the boardroom reshuffle and strategy review, said the group finished the first half with a strong balance sheet including cash balances of £11.5m and no debt, excluding manufacturer stocking loans of £11.7m.

Walden added that in the first six months of the year, when the group traditionally delivers proportionally its best performance, new car volumes increased to 300 cars compared to 242 cars delivered to 30 June 2009.

Results were boosted by strong deliveries of the recently introduced Rolls-Royce Ghost and Ferrari California. In addition Bentley new car volumes were also ahead of those achieved in the first half of 2009.

Used car volumes increased to 284 cars from 251 cars delivered in 2009. Margins on both new and used cars were also better than in the prior year, he said.

The interim statement shows that Lancaster received a £700,000 pay-off for leaving the chief executive post.

Walden added: “The search for a new chief executive is progressing as planned and we hope to be able to make an appointment in the near future.

"The strategy review initiated earlier this year has commenced and will be completed subsequent to the appointment of a chief executive.”

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