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Pendragon says 2014 results have beaten expectations

Trevor Finn

Pendragon, whose car dealerships operate under the Stratstone and Evans Halshaw brands, says its full year 2014 results will be ahead of expectations when it publishes them next month.

In its trading update to the London Stock Exchange this morning, the car dealer group said trading in its motor division continues to be ahead of the prior year and used car performance has progressed.

Trevor Finn, chief executive, said: "We are pleased to report that our 2014 full year performance will be ahead of expectations.  Our strategic focus on used performance and our online activities continues to deliver enhanced value and we are looking forward to some exciting opportunities to come in 2015."

Visits to the group's, and increased by 18.8% in the fourth quarter, Pendragon said, and its 'Sell Your Car' initiative, set up to rival, has rolled out to 38 retail points.

It also purchased some of its leasehold properties for £12.9m to yield an annual rent saving of about £1.3m, and its said it expects its year end debt : underlying EBITDA ratio to be better than its target range of 1.0 to 1.5 times.

The company said it continues to be cautiously optimistic about the prospects for 2015.

Mike Allen, of brokers Zeus Capital, said: "This has prompted us to upgrade our 2014E EPS estimates by 5% (to 2.9p) and take a more conservative view in 2015E and 2016E.

"Net debt is also expected to fall further despite acquiring some leasehold properties for £13m, with 2014E net debt/EBITDA expected to fall further to 0.9x."

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