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Lookers reveals positive interim results

Lookers has posted revenue and profit before tax increases of 3.1% and 9.4% respectively in its results for the six months ended June 20, 2012.

Revenue was up to £1.03 billion in comparison to £1bn over the same period in 2011, profit before tax increased to £23.3 million from £21.3m.

Operating profit before amortisation of intangible assets increased to £30.1 million from £29.2m last year. Net debt reduced by £12.7 million to £26.8 million and gearing reduced to 13%, down by 3%.

The group intends to remain acquisitive as it looks for more opportunities to grow the business.

Peter Jones, Lookers chief executive, said: “We are pleased to deliver another strong trading performance with the results for the first six months of 2012, which represents a record performance for the group.

“Our motor division produced an excellent result, notwithstanding the relatively weak new car market, and the parts division delivered a resilient performance in challenging market conditions.

“Operational cashflow for the period was particularly positive, resulting in a strengthened
balance sheet.

“This gives us confidence that we can continue to grow the business, deliver satisfactory results for the full year, increase our dividend payments and be in a strong position to pursue strategic growth opportunities as and when they arise.”

Group sales of new retail cars increased by 11% and Lookers said it reduced its corporate sales intentionally by 7.5% to “adopt a selective approach to avoid very low margin fleet business”.

This approach resulted in higher profits from fleet sales despite selling fewer cars.

The business has continued to grow its used car volumes, which increased by 11.1%, against the market trend.

Aftersales turnover remained consistent with the prior year.

Lookers has closed or sold four "underperforming businesses" since the start of the year while adding new businesses in recent months.

Lookers acquired Lomond Motors on July 5 which operates four Audi dealerships in Scotland, including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling and Ayr, as well as the distribution of trade parts for the VW Group in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The group also acquired Fleet Financial (N.I.) the previous month which is a contract
hire and leasing company based in Belfast.

Its most recent acquisition was the purchase of a Seat and Skoda dealership in Manchester, complementing its Stockport based Seat and Skoda dealerships.

Lookers' motor division consists of 120 franchise dealerships representing 32 marques from 69

For a divisional breakdown view of Lookers' business click on page two.

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