Lookers will report its 2020 annual financial results on the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) June 30 reporting deadline after announcing a "short delay" in publication.
A year on from a temporary suspension of share trading on the London Stock Exchange following the delayed reporting of its 2019 results, the AM100 car retail PLC said in a statement issued this morning (June 28) that the results would be published a day later than previously announced, on June 30.
The announcement of the short delay – prompted by new auditor BDO – came as Lookers issued a trading update to upgrade its profit forecast for 2021, however.
It said that “strong momentum in trading” in May and June had prompted a significant upgrade to its full year 2021 expectations, with pre-tax profits for the period now projected to be £40 million.
Commenting on the delay to its full-year 2020 results, a statement issued by Lookers said that it was “not aware of any material issues” with its accounts, but added: “The board and the group's new auditors, BDO LLP, require slightly more time to conclude the audit process.
“The Board is mindful that under the Financial Conduct Authorities (the "FCA") amended Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules, the Group's 2020 Results need to be published by 30 June 2021.
“The Board's view is that this timetable is still achievable, but some timing risk still exists in the completion of audit processes.”
In its trading update, Lookers followed up a previous positive update for the four-month period to April 30 with the assertion that it had seen robust consumer demand and ongoing outperformance of the UK retail new car market in the two months that followed.
Chief executive, Mark Raban, said: "Performance in the first six months of the year has been exceptionally strong underpinned by our relentless focus on operational excellence, strong consumer demand, significant market outperformance and a much improved omni-channel customer experience.
“I would like to thank the fantastic Lookers team for their considerable efforts and commitment in delivering these results."
Lookers’ statement said that vehicle margins remained strong, benefitting from improving residual values and greater operational focus, adding that it continued to benefit from its enhanced omni-channel customer offer and the decisive self-help restructuring initiatives implemented last year.
It added: “As we look forward into the second half of 2021 there remains some uncertainty driven by the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and notable supply restrictions in both new and used vehicles, which have been tightening in recent weeks.
“Notwithstanding these uncertainties, given the strength of performance during the first half of 2021, the Board expects the full year performance to 31 December 2021 to be significantly ahead of current expectations.”
Lookers said that its balance sheet remains robust with a current net cash position of approximately £18m.
Last year's delay to the publication of Lookers' 2019 financial results, and subesquent suspension of shares trading, followed news that a fraud investigation covering its entire UK operations had uncovered a £19m accounts ‘black hole’.
The group has undergone a wide-ranging restructure to move-on from its legacy issues, however, and closed a further 12 car dealerships, while making up to 1,500 redundancies, as part of a plan targeting annual savings of £50m.
It also carried out a shake-up of its board.
A series of profit upgrades have been issued by the group so far in 2021, with the "small profit” 2020 forecast back in March now amounting to some £40m.