Cambria Automobiles saw its pre-tax profit increase by more than half to over £9.6m during the six months to the end of February with nearly £2.5m coming from government help, figures out today (May 5) show.
It said it benefited from the furlough scheme and business rates relief to the tune of £2.45m during the financial half-year.
The franchised motor retailer said it had performed ahead of the previous year despite the lockdowns and tiering restrictions.
Releasing its unaudited interim results to February 28, 2021, it said revenue had fallen by 16 per cent to £254.7m versus 2020’s first-half figure of £303.1m. However, pre-tax profit went up by 58 per cent to £9.69m against £6.13m in 2020.
Its half-year EBITDA, meanwhile, rose by 32 per cent from £9.908m to £13.076m. Its latest available full-year EBITDA of £17.08m put it at 14th in our inaugural list of the UK’s Top 100 most profitable dealers.
It also managed to cut its net debt by £400,000 to £5.6m. Its balance sheet shows net assets of £79.5m compared with £68.5m for the six months to the end of February 2020.
New vehicle sales fell by 511 to 2,572, while used vehicle sales were down by 1,976 units to 4,431.
Aftersales revenue, meanwhile, dropped by 12.7 per cent to £33.1m but saw an improvement in gross profit of £200,000.
Just before the end of the half-year, it made a loss of £40,000 when it completed the sale of its vacant Blackburn site for £850,000, although the money wasn’t received until after the period end.
Cambria chief executive Mark Lavery said: ‘Whilst I am pleased with the overall performance of the group in the first half of our financial year, the imposition of various lockdown restrictions has clearly had a material impact on the volume of cars that we have been able to sell to our guests.
‘There is no doubt that most retail operations learnt vital lessons during Lockdown 1 to adapt to different trading models and our business was no different, seamlessly migrating towards a digital click-and-collect offering for vehicle sales whilst operating the aftersales departments as efficiently as possible.
‘We took significant actions to reduce our cost base in the previous financial year and were always concerned that there would be a third lockdown based on the national data in the autumn of 2020.
‘The reduced volumes have translated into reduced gross profits in the new and used car departments but our aftersales operations have performed well, being more efficient and therefore more profitable.’
He added: ‘Aside from Covid, the industry continues to face headwinds in relation to the significant changes in technology and more recently in relation to new car product supply due to the global shortage of microchips and semiconductors, which could continue for some time and may have a material impact on the new car market.
‘I am very proud of the response of our entire associate base and thank them for all the support and flexibility that they have shown.
‘I would also like to thank our brand partners for their pragmatism and ongoing support throughout the pandemic.
‘The trading performance that has been produced in the face of the challenges outlined is good.
‘Our resilient business model, outstanding guest experience and brand partnerships continue to help us navigate the current environment, and our enhanced franchised portfolio stands us in good stead to benefit from the opportunities that will present themselves as we emerge from the pandemic.’