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Property sales lift Caffyns as car dealer group restructures

AM100 car dealer group Caffyns saw a five-fold jump in pre-tax profit thanks to one-off boosts from the sale of properties.

Its results for the 12 months to the end of March show just under £1.5 million pre-tax profit, up from £261,000 the previous year, although underlying operating profit declined year-on-year from £1.4m to £779,000.

Revenue also declined from £201m to £170m as the group continued a major restructuring exercise to improve performance and efficiency and focus on its premium and near-premium franchises.

That restructuring saw two businesses close, three more consolidated into other sites during the period, plus a reduction in the central cost base, on top of the closure of seven businesses in the prior year.

Net debt at the end of March had increased to £8.7m from £8.1m, with gearing up to 43% from 40%. In March the group renewed banking facilities with HSBC, increasing its three year revolving credit facility to £7.5m from £5m, plus a £3.5m overdraft facility.

It also secured a £7m overdraft facility from Volkswagen Bank, replacing a previous one with RBS.

Chief executive Simon Caffyn said the group achieved a relatively strong new car sales performance however this was offset by a decline in used car sales and margin. 

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