Donnelly Renault Ballymena, April 2023Donnelly Renault Ballymena, April 2023


Donnelly Group’s directors happy despite profit dip on turnover rise at car dealership chain

  • Donnelly Group publishes its accounts for 2023
  • Turnover went up by 12% but pre-tax profit fell by 5%
  • Return of devolved government could be catalyst for growth

Time 7:11 am, July 3, 2024

New and used car dealership chain Donnelly Group suffered a slight drop in profit last year in spite of turnover rising.

The multi-franchise dealer’s newly published accounts for the year ended December 31, 2023 – filed as Donnelly Bros Garages (Dungannon) Ltd, which is the ultimate parent undertaking – show that turnover went up from £252.34m in 2022 to £283.63m last year – a rise of 12%.

Pre-tax profit dipped by 5%, though, from £5.31m to £5.02m, with its gross profit margin going down from 12.63% to 11.7%.

But the directors’ accompanying strategic report, signed on behalf of the board by company secretary Malcolm Kerr, said they were happy with the group’s performance, bearing in mind the ‘challenging market and economic environment’.

A zero interim dividend was paid during the year versus £101,708 in 2022, and the directors didn’t recommend paying a final dividend, just as they didn’t in 2022.

Charitable donations for 2023 totalled £4,758, which was down on 2022’s figure of £5,331.

The average monthly number of employees across the group rose from 504 to 512.

Directors’ emoluments went up from £545.214 to £558,003, with the highest-paid director receiving a remuneration of £199,170 – up from £181,971 the year before.

The family-owned dealership chain, which is fully owned by Donnelly & Taggart Ltd, has nine sites across Northern Ireland and is ranked 68th in the Car Dealer Top 100 of the UK’s most profitable dealerships.

It said the supply of new vehicles continued to improve in general during 2023 and used vehicle prices were now more predictable.

However, it still expected continued volatility in the prices of new and used EVs as the market stabilised.

The directors said the new and used vehicle markets in Northern Ireland had seen growth but were still below 2019’s levels.

They added that the automotive industry in Northen Ireland was hoping that the return of devolved government to Stormont would be a catalyst for growth in the future.

Looking ahead, the board said: ‘We expect 2024 to be a challenging year as we work through these issues, but we have strong manufacturer partnerships in place to participate in industry growth.’

The directors reported that profitability during the first four trading months of this year had been in line with group expectations.

Main image via Google Street View shows Donnelly’s Renault site in Ballymena

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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