Jardine Motors Group had an extremely bad 2020, posting an operating loss of £9.8m after making £8.3m profit the year before – despite claiming more than £12m in furlough cash.
In its accounts for the year ending December 31, 2020, filed with Companies House, the company also said that it suffered a pre-tax loss of £13.9m after a £2.7m profit in 2019.
Turnover, meanwhile, sank by a third from £2.04bn to £1.36bn, while aftersales revenue also dropped by 33 per cent from £176m in 2019 to £118m in 2020.
Jardine said it sold 22,399 new cars and 19,373 used last year versus 36,311 and 32,665 respectively in 2019.
It claimed a total of £12.575m under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and took advantage of the business rates relief programme as well as the VAT deferral initiative.
However, the accompanying directors’ report, signed on their behalf by David Muir, said the group had returned to profit during the first quarter of 2021, thanks to its ‘resolute response’ following the pandemic and its restructure, as well as ongoing investment in digital retailing and government support.
A costs review, which saved it some £30m, led to 522 jobs being shed and its head office leased site in Milton Keynes being shut, plus a partial closure of a head office leased site in Colchester.
The redundancies cost it £2.6m – listed as exceptional costs.
Its average monthly number of employees, meanwhile, fell from 3,429 in 2019 to 2,756 in 2020.
In January 2020, it shut a trade parts centre and used car centre that shared a site in Erdington, while in July 2020 it completed the sale of its VW dealership in Aylesbury, followed by the sale of its Lexus dealership in Newcastle upon Tyne in November.
Its Harley-Davidson site in Thurrock was closed last September.
Jardine said all the closures had been planned before the pandemic.
Agreed pay sacrifices of various amounts were also made by certain staff as well as the directors during different months.
Jardine – which was founded in 1969 by Nicholas and Ronald Lancaster in East Anglia and has its registered office address in Colchester– now represents 13 brands, including Aston Martin, Porsche, Maserati, McLaren, Jaguar and Ferrari, at more than 50 sites.
Colchester dealerships pictured via Google Street View