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Eighth year of record profits at car dealer Lookers

Lookers chief executive Andy Bruce, left, and operations director Nigel McMinn

Lookers boosted its revenues by 17% to £4.3 billion in 2016, with much of its growth coming from increased sales at its existing businesses.

Although the group acquired Knights BMW and Mini and Drayton Mercedes-Benz and Smart businesses, its trading results show its motor division’s turnover rose by £658 million, of which acquisitions contributed only £131m. Chief executive Andy Bruce said it was “pleasing to see organic growth in turnover of £527m”.

Pre-tax profits increased by 46% to 91.8m, however this included a £28m one-off gain from Lookers’ sale of its wholesale parts division to Alliance Automotive, which was completed in order to free cash for expansion of the franchised dealership portfolio in its motor division.

Adjusted pre-tax profit rose 7% to £77.1m. Adjusted operating profit was 10% up at £94.7m.

Lookers said it undertook a review of its franchised operations in 2016 and sold or closed 10 underperforming businesses as a result.

It has continued investment in a multi-channel customer experience, especially driving significant increases in visitor and enquiry levels through online, and will launch a new website in 2017 to enhance operational efficiencies further.

Andy Bruce, chief executive, said:  "I am pleased to announce an excellent set of year end results. Our profit is at record levels and has increased for the eighth consecutive year - evidence of both an expansive and a resilient business model.

“We know our strategy of having the right brands in the right locations and excellent execution is the right one - and during the year we've managed our portfolio of dealerships to reflect that.

“Generating shareholder value through acquisitions is one of the things we do best. We will be making more acquisitions and have the balance sheet strength to do so.

“We've made a good start to the current financial year and have a healthy order book for the delivery of new cars in the important month of March. Our strategy of acting as a consolidator - and growing organically - leaves us ideally placed for growth and increased earnings in 2017 and beyond."



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