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Arnold Clark reports record turnover - but predicts static profits ahead

> Arnold Clark financials, franchise holding and shareholding data. (Source: AMi)

A series of acquisitions has helped Arnold Clark Automobiles to its highest financial turnover.

Its 2012 results, published today, show an increase in turnover of 10.3% to £2.48 billion (2011: £2.25m). Fleet sales increased by 11.5%, due to "significant contracts" won in the year.

Pre-tax profits rose from £51.7 million in 2011 to £60.5m. New and used vehicle sales increased by 10.3% and 4.6% respectively.

New car sales were 79,979 (2011: 72,538) and used 122,398 (116,994), although on like-for-like it was a 1.2% increase for used sales with much of the growth coming from acquired sites in a "relatively stable market".

Operating profit before goodwill amortisation increased by 18.3% to £73m, meaning the group exceeded net assets of £500 million for the first time.

Sir Arnold Clark, chairman, said: "Whilst the wider economic situation remains uncertain, the consensus in the motor industry is for modest growth in both the new and used retail markets.

"The board predicts that turnover will increase in the coming year and expect profitability to remain at levels similar to 2012.

"Our hard work and impressive results in recent years mean we are confident about our ability to achieve profitable expansion, both organically and through strategic acquisitions. We have laid down strong foundations for growth and are fully committed to achieving our goal of being the UK's pre-eminent motor retailer."

Cashflow fuelled five acquisitions in the first half of 2012 and 12 additional sites were bought in the second half, increasing the AM10's group number of franchised outlets by 34 in the year.

The most significant was at the end of August. The acquisition of John R Weir added the largest Mercedes-Benz market area in the UK - five Mercedes' sites in Grangemouth, Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness, plus Smart in Perth, Inverness and Aberdeen. The brands Kia, Jeep and Chrysler were added in Perth too.

The trade and assets of two Volkswagen sites in Wishaw and Rutherglen, near Glasgow, were bought in early August and two Vauxhall sites in Morecombe and Kendal.

In November the group bought a Vauxhall dealership and bodyshop in Blackpool, it acquired the trade and assets of a Hyundai, Jeep and Chrysler site in Glasgow and a site in Kemnay, representing Peugeot, Chrysler, Jeep and Chevrolet.

Its property portfolio was added to with a site in Bootle, a building in Wolverhampton refurbished and used by GTG Training to provide all Arnold Clark's training needs, and finally a site in Inverness which has the potential to be a dealership.

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