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Lookers to publish record profits after ‘exceptional’ 2021

Lookers chief executive Mark Raban

Lookers chief executive Mark Raban has revealed that the car retail PLC expects to publish record annual profits after an “exceptional” 2021 trading performance.

In a trading update published via the London Stock Exchange this morning (January 7) the AM100 car retail group revealed its expectations of a record underlying profit before tax ahead of the previous market consensus of £82m for 2021.

And Raban said Lookers had emerged from last year with “a strong balance sheet”, with net cash of around £8m at December 31 (2020: net debt £40.7m) and property with a book value of £303.9m at 30 June 2021.

Raban said: “2021 was an exceptional year for Lookers and we now expect to beat our previous estimates with record profit for the year.

"This is a great achievement by the whole team in a year which brought many external challenges, including COVID and vehicle shortages, demonstrating the strength of our proposition.

“With net cash at the year end, we have a strong balance sheet and good capacity to invest in future growth opportunities.”

Lookers’ trading update revealed that it is now preparing to reveal a new strategic framework designed to “maximise the revenue and profit opportunities” from changing consumer behaviour, the impact of electric vehicles (EV), developing relationships with OEMs and changing technology.

Lookers CEO Mark Raban and  COO Duncan McPhee with a new car delivery/collection lorryLast month the group revealed that it had boosted its fleet of vehicle delivery and collection lorries alongside the launch of a new ‘click and sell’ online used car buying platform aimed at sourcing stock from private sellers.

Raban added: “There are many structural changes which are creating opportunities in our market including evolving consumer behaviour, electrification, and changing relationships with our brand partners.

“The board and executive have been refreshed and we are well progressed with a major review both to improve our operational performance and to future proof our revenue streams through a number of strategic growth opportunities.

“We have outlined our main areas of focus in our update today and are excited about our ambition and aspiration to become the UK’s leading integrated automotive retail and services group.”

The Lookers board has said that it is the business’s intention to continue to invest in the business and restore dividends alongside the full year 2021 results.

“The board is confident that the group remains well positioned to capitalise on the opportunities ahead and achieve its financial expectations,” today’s statement said.

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