Dealership group Cambria’s profits more than doubled last year but staff numbers were cut as it looked to go private

  • Pre-tax profit for year to August 31, 2021 soared to £21.8m
  • Revenue rose by 7.5 per cent to £563.1m
  • Staff numbers were cut by 35 per cent to 656

Time 11:59 am, February 24, 2022

Cambria Automobiles saw its profits more than double last year as it slashed staff numbers ahead of coming off the stock market.

Its results for the year to August 31, 2021, which have just been filed with Companies House, show its pre-tax profit rocketed by 114 per cent to £21.8m on revenue that rose by 7.5 per cent to £563.1m.

Operating profit at the Car Dealer Top 100 company rose by 90 per cent to £22.8m.

Meanwhile, the average number of staff fell by 35 per cent from 1,014 to 656.

It also claimed a total of £1.789m under the furlough scheme. The previous year, it claimed £4.088m.

Chief executive Mark Lavery said in his accompanying report that the ‘unprecedented year’ had seen Cambria deliver strong results, despite the lockdowns and restrictions.

Sales of new and used cars were down, but that was offset by a better margin and retained profit per unit.

There was also an ‘unheard of’ improvement in used car residual values of some 32 per cent.

But he also said he’d ‘had to make some difficult decisions to protect the business’, which led to the job cuts that started the previous year and finished in this reporting period.

Lavery added that the restructuring had made Cambria ‘leaner and more flexible [for] the undoubted challenges that lie ahead’..

During the year, it offloaded its Dees Ford site in Wimbledon to TrustFord and closed Doves Volvo in Croydon, with Doves Volvo in Horsham joining the manufacturer’s authorised repair network and Doves Gatwick became a specialist retailer with Volvo.

Lavery also paid tribute to Cambria staff for their efforts during the pandemic, saying: ‘I have been truly humbled by the response of our teams and the passion, enthusiasm and dedication to delivering a world-class guest experience continues to amaze me on a daily basis.’

His takeover bid was launched last June with an initial offer of 80p per share. That was increased to 82.5p a share in August, and it became an unconditional offer in September.

Cambria was established in 2006 and joined the Alternative Investment Market in April 2010 at 50p per share, valuing it at £50m.

Ten years later, that price had sunk to 33p a share, giving it a market value of £33m.

In his report, which is signed and dated January 17, 2022, Lavery says: ‘During the course of the pandemic, it became obvious to me that the London Stock Exchange did not understand the value of Cambria Automobiles.

‘This led me to consider the future of the company in the public domain.

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‘For over a decade, we worked diligently in an attempt to ensure that the value of the company was recognised on the LSE. However, this was not to be so.

‘I am delighted that we have taken the step to bring the company back into private ownership.

‘I believe without the distractions and costs of being a public company, we can concentrate on growing and realising the company’s potential.’

It currently has 27 sites with 44 franchises and 18 brands.

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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