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Constellation Automotive Group lost £800,000 last year

  • Revenue soared nearly one and a half times to £8.31bn
  • Latest accounts show Constellation made £34.3m pre-tax profit last year
  • But firm still lost £800,000 overall
  • Highest-paid director received £4.1m – down £2.3m on year before

Time 10:13 am, January 6, 2023

Constellation Automotive Group – the industry giant that owns BCA, Cinch, Marshall Motors and WeBuyAnyCar – made an overall loss of £800,000 last year.

The figures are laid bare in its newly published accounts for the year ended April 3, 2022, which were signed off on the board’s behalf by chief financial officer Tim Lampert.

They show that revenue for the digital car marketplace soared by 141 per cent from £3.45bn to £8.31bn, while its operating profit rocketed from £47.4m to £186.3m – a 293 per cent increase.

Its adjusted EBITDA was £336.3m – up by 57 per cent on the previous year’s £214.8m.

But once tax and other costs are taken into account, it lost £800,000 overall – although that was a big improvement on the previous year’s overall loss of £20.7m.

The highest-paid director – who was unnamed – received £4.1m during the year, taking a £2.3m hit on the previous year’s remuneration figure of £6.4m

The board said the year had been ‘significantly disrupted by the impact of new car supply’, caused by Covid restrictions and the worldwide semiconductor shortage.

That in turn had driven up demand for used cars, creating record prices for second-hand vehicles.

Among its operational highlights, it said that its June 2021 purchase of  the former Rockingham Motorway Speedway site ‘significantly increased’ its storage space.

Vehicles are now prepared at seven sites: Bristol, Corby, Chipping Warden, Kingsnorth, Sandwich, Goole and Grimsby.

To give an idea of the scale of its operations, it said its retail operations division fitted more than 65,000 tyres, 47,000 oil filters, 6,500 wiper blades, 17,500 brake pads and 5,000 windscreens.

It now reckons it could prepare up to 200,000 vehicles a year.

Its UK vehicle remarketing division returned to pre-Covid levels of sales of 1.1m – a 21 per cent increase on 2020/21 – with an average sale price of £9,300, which was £2,000 more than in 2020/21.

WeBuyAnyCar was reported to have provided more than 50 per cent of UK auction volume during the year.

Meanwhile, its international vehicle remarketing division in mainland Europe sold 340,000 vehicles – up by 10,000 – with an average sale price of 10,500 euros, versus 9,500 euros the year before.

Together, its UK and international remarketing divisions operate from more than 60 locations.

Its vehicle buying division, which comprises 501 WeBuyAnyCar sites in the UK – up from 357 the year before – and others in mainland Europe, shifted 600,000 vehicles. Its record sale was £300,000 for a McLaren 765LT.

It received £600,000 in government grants – mainly from the furlough scheme and their equivalents in mainland Europe – versus £35.5m the year before.

The average monthly number of employees rose from 7,365 to 8,324.

Constellation’s ultimate controlling party is TDR Capital LLP. The ultimate parent entity is Constellation Automotive Topco Sarl.

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John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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