Marshall Motor Holdings has expressed its aim of focusing on its “strong balance sheet” in a trading update issued in response to the introduction of the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP).
In August the group said that the success of "strong management actions" in the first half of 2018 had delivered profit before tax from continuing operations up 1.2% at £16.4m, despite a 0.4% decline (to £1.16bn) in revenues for continuing operations during the period to June 30, 2018.
Marshall said in its operating review that the half-year result had been underpinned by robust trading disciplines, tight control of discretionary costs despite significant cost headwinds and the positive impact of the previously announced closure of six loss making sites.
The group said in a statement issued by the London Stock Exchange today (October 11) that the challenges presented by a decline in the new vehicle market during H2 “continue to have been mitigated by strong operational disciplines and the benefits of the decisive action taken in 2017 to proactively manage costs and the group's dealership portfolio”.
Marshall’s board believes that it is right to remain cautious on the UK car market in light of continued economic uncertainty, ongoing consumer confusion around diesel vehicles and the residual impact of WLTP changes on new vehicle supply, however.
It said: “The group continues to invest in selected property assets to support its brand partners and offer customers an excellent retail environment whilst remaining focused on maintaining a strong balance sheet.
“Ongoing developments of a new Jaguar Land Rover facility on freehold land in Lincoln and a new Ford Store on long leasehold land in Cambridge are scheduled to complete in the New Year.”
The group said that, despite the cautious approach, it would continue to review potential acquisition opportunities.