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Sytner Group reports 36.6% decline in 2019 pre-tax profits

Darren Edwards, Sytner

Sytner Group has reported a 1% decline in revenues and 36.6% decline in pre-tax profits in its 2019 annual financial results.

As AM works to complete the rankings of the 2020 AM100 rankings, last year’s top-placed car retail group by turnover revealed that its revenues declined to £5.92 billion, while profit before tax slipped from £113.2m to £71.7m over the same period.

The Leicester-based business said that, although the COVID-19 pandemic had a “severely disruptive effect”, it remained in a “robust position”, with an overdraft facility of £12m, vehicle stocking loans and a revolving credit facility of £150m committed until 2023.

It added: "Trading is not expected to continue quite as strongly going forwards, however the directors consider the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic are likely to be less dramatic than the first wave of infections in 2020."

Penske Corporation-owned Sytner said that its focus for the future was to “organically grow the business”, along with its franchise partners, and to “progress acquisitions where opportunities arise”, adding: The group has also recently diversified into the used car supermarket sector and further capital investment and expansion is planned in this area in the coming few years.”

The CarShop used car supermarket division underwent a shake-up of its leadership team in December last year, with chief executive Jonathan Dunkley, chief financial officer Brian Scott and commercial director James Dunkley of the Sytner Group’s CarShop used car supermarket division have all having now departed the business.

Sytner reported that its used car sales volumes had risen by 1.3% to 138,078 (2018: 136,367) during 2019.

The group has disposed of or closed several of its less profitable businesses in 2019 and beyond.

Sytner cut its Volkswagen representation by a third with the sale of its Liverpool, Warrington, Stafford and Stoke-On-Trent locations to Johnsons Cars in November, ahead of the closure of its facility in Halifax.

In January it also sold its Goodman Retail Limited Volkswagen retail sites in Leeds, Huddersfield, Harrogate and Skipton to Vertu Motors.

The 2019 results statement revealed a £7m pre-tax loss from business operations discontinued during the reported period.

Among the group's plans for future growth are a new Ferrari Glasgow dealership, which is currently awaiting planning permission, and the new Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) West London dealership facility. 

Development of a new £12.3m JLR Dual Arch dealership at Cribbs Causeway, Bristol, is also expected to be completed in early 2021 after a COVID-19 delay.

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