Vertu sees pre-tax profit fall but is still ‘confident’

Vertu sees pre-tax profit fall but is still ‘confident’

VERTU Motors has recorded a nine per cent drop in pre-tax profit in its year-end results released today.

The automotive retailer, which is the sixth largest in the UK with 120 sales and aftersales outlets, announced that it made £28.6m adjusted profit before tax for the year ending February 28, 2018 – down from £31.5m the previous year.

The group, which was established in November 2006, said the figure reflected ‘a tougher trading environment’, with the board adding that it remained ‘confident about the group’s prospects for the year ahead’ and was continuing to examine opportunities for growth via acquisitions.

Vertu chief executive Robert Forrester, pictured, said: ‘We have closed what turned out to be a more challenging year for the sector, with the business in a strong position.

‘We have been deliberately cautious on the acquisition front as pricing moved away from our investment valuation metrics. This trend is beginning to reverse and potential acquisition opportunities are increasing.

‘Our strong balance sheet with net cash of £19.3m, together with our unutilised debt facilities, provides scope for further scaling-up of the business to drive value and further enhance shareholder returns.

‘We remain very focused on capital allocation and continue to make progress on realising surplus property assets and managing the dealership portfolio.’

He added: ‘The full-year dividend has been increased by 7.1 per cent [to 1.5p]. We are pleased with the performance of the group in March and April in all key areas. The board therefore has confidence for the full year.’

Vertu’s dealerships mainly operate under the Bristol Street Motors, Vertu, Farnell and Macklin Motors brand names. It currently has 117 franchised sales outlets and three non-franchised sales outlets at 103 locations.

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