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TrustFord reports £5.2m loss in COVID-hit 2020 financial results

Stuart Foulds, the chairman and chief executive of TrustFord

TrustFord chairman and chief executive Stuart Foulds has said he was “relatively pleased” with the group’s COVID-impacted 2020 financial results – despite recording a £5.2m pre-tax loss.

Foulds told AM that the Ford-owned AM100 car retail group had emerged from the crisis in a position that meant it was still left with the prospect of a “record year” in 2021, despite last year’s 17.8% decline in revenues and 192.9% decline in profit before tax.

TrustFord’s accounts for the period to December 31, 2020, showed that revenues dipped to £1.41 billion as pre-tax profits declined from 2019’s £5.6m to the £5.2m loss.

The group said that its revenues from vehicle sales had been impacted by 18% as a direct result of lockdowns, while parts revenues were impacted by 19%. Workshop sales were down 25%.

Group accounts showed that TrustFord claimed £11.4m in Government support.

Foulds told AM that, “given the context of the dealership closures” experienced last year, he was “relatively pleased” with the outcome for the business.

“After being closed for such long periods I think we’re relatively happy with where we find ourselves,” he said.

“We sold 77,000 cars last year and our profit before interest was £6 million.

“The big thing for us was liquidity. We ended up with a £700 million banking facility which we didn’t have to use in the end.”

Foulds added: “2021 will be a record year TrustFord. We’ve started the year strongly and we’re flying at the moment.”

Foulds conceded that vehicle supply would be an issue this year, as a result of the global shortage of semiconductor microchips, but said that he expected the situation to ease by Q4.

He said: “Ford has switched its manufacturing focus to commercial vehicles and I think the focus for cars will turn to order taking. Q3 will be tricky, but I think things will recover in Q4.”

Last year TrustFord begun a restructure of its operations which brought about the £30m sale of its 4.44-acre Alperton dealership.

The move came as part of a series of changes within the TrustFord network, with the closure of its Banstead dealership – to be consolidated into Epsom – and a move to shift the new car sales operations of Eltham and Perry Bar into Epsom and Erdington, respectively.

Bradford’s body shop facility was also closed amid a slackening of demand for accident repair services, Foulds told AM last summer.

It has further evolved its retail portfolio since the end of its 2020 financial year.

Last month the group continued the consolidation of Ford's car retail network in London through the acquisition of Cambria Automobiles’ franchises in Croydon and Wimbledon.

Speaking at the time, Foulds told AM: "The acquisition of these two sites more or less gives us control of London and Greater London, which is a long-term desire that we've had.

"It completes the circle for us in London.”

In February TrustFord also gained planning permission for a new dealership site in Guernsey, meanwhile, allowing the business to bring its Ford retail, aftersales and body shop businesses under one roof.

The Guernsey site, at Longue Hougue, includes the island’s Hertz car rental business.

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