Marshall Motor Holdings has reported a fifth consecutive year of turnover growth since its IPO, its revenues having risen 4.1% to £2.28 billion in the group’s 2019 annual financial results.
On a like-for-like basis the AM100 car retail group’s revenues rose to 2.2% to £2.21bn as like-for-like profit before tax declined 10.8% to £22.1m (2018: £24.7m), however, in a year that saw the opening of 20 new retail businesses and multiple disposals for the business.
PBT was up 8.9% at £19.6m (£18m) on a non-underlying basis, Marshall reported this morning (March 10).
Marshall revealed that it had made £46.8m of capital investment in the reported period – the 12 months to December 31, 2019 – as new vehicle unit sales rose 0.3% (to 47,303) and like-for-like used car unit sales increased by 6.1% (to 46,974) with the help of a strict 56-day stocking policy which resulted in a 9.1x stockturn.
It also recorded a 3.2% growth in aftersales like-for-like revenue to £258.8m (2018: £246.1m).
Marshall chief executive, Daksh Gupta, said: “Despite market conditions, the business performed well, with like-for-like operating profit down 4.1% to £33.1m against last year’s record result.
“The Group has taken advantage of continued market consolidation, completing a number of strategic acquisitions in 2019, adding 20 new businesses. We are particularly proud to have become Volkswagen Group’s largest partner in the UK.
Marshall Motor Holdings completed the £22.3 million acquisition of eight Volkswagen Group franchised car dealerships from Jardine Motors in December, acquiring Volkswagen passenger car franchises in Aylesbury, Harlow, Letchworth, Loughton, Milton Keynes and St Albans together with a Volkswagen commercial vehicle franchise and body shop in Loughton and a Skoda passenger car franchise in Milton Keynes.
Gupta said that he and the Marshall board were “cognisant” of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) predictions of a 2.6% decline in the new car market in 2020 and the potential impact that uncertainty over the outcome of future trade agreement negotiations between the UK and the European Union.
He also indicated that the group had considered its response to the coronavirus outbreak which had already prompted the cancellation of the Geneva Motor Show 2020.
He said: “Although we have not seen an impact to date, the board is monitoring the potential impact of COVID-19 and is considering contingency plans in the event it starts to impact our dealerships.
“The Board therefore remains cautious but our order book for the important March plate-change period is encouraging and our outlook for the full Year is unchanged.
“The UK motor retail landscape may change over the years and decades ahead. The Group’s long-standing strategy of partnering with the right brands in the right locations has positioned it well to remain a relevant and important part of that future landscape.
“I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the chairman and the board, to thank our entire team, our brand partners and suppliers for their continued support.”
Marshall added seven Škoda dealerships in deals with Progress Group and Sandicliffe Group, six Volkswagen passenger car, two Volkswagen commercial vehicle, two Honda (Reading and Newbury) and a Volvo business (Derby) to its portfolio in 2019.
It also joined Geely's London Electric Vehicle Company (LEV) franchise with the opening of a new dealership in Nottingham in October.
As a result, it is now the largest franchise partner for Volkswagen Group UK, the largest partner for Volvo and the second largest partner for Honda.
The Group now consists of 117 franchises representing 24 brand partners trading in 28 counties nationwide.
Marshall indicated that will be leveraging its marketing channels to attract new custom in 2020.
The group, which claimed the Best Use of Social Media accolade at the AM Awards 2019 launched its first national television advertising campaign in the reported period and also began development of a new website which will be “fully transactional”.
The group said that the new website will go live in the first half of 2020.
Last year saw the group welcome a new HR director, in the form of former Pendragon HR director Jo Moxon and former Notcutts chairman and Marks & Spencers director Nicky Dulieu onto the board in a period that saw 24% of management positions filled by females.
Dulieu joined the group as a non-executive director and chair of remuneration committee with the effect from January 1.
Marshall’s annual general meeting will be held on May 21.