Directors at dealer group Listers pocketed a total of £7.12m during the pandemic – despite the fact the firm claimed over £13m in furlough cash in order to pay its staff, the firm’s accounts have shown.
The group’s annual accounts, published via Companies House, show that the Car Dealer Top 100 company benefited from the government’s job retention scheme to the tune of £13.34m in the 12 months up to March 31, 2021.
Over the same period, directors’ remuneration totalled £7.12m – a rise of almost 33 per cent when compared to the £4.77m paid out the year before.
The rise comes despite the fact that turnover fell dramatically for the Warwickshire-based dealer group, largely as a result of multiple national lockdowns.
In the year ending March 31, 2020, the firm brought in £1.21bn but that fell to £1.01bn in the following 12 months.
However, with the industry recovering exceptionally from the pandemic, pre-tax profits still rose from £11.96m to £23.84m.
Among the figures to fall was the cost of wages and salaries which dropped to £76.5m from £82.85.
The drop was largely a result of reduced staff numbers, with the firm employing a total of 2,071 people in March – a decrease of 260 from the year before.
Bosses at the dealer group say that the increased profits came despite the group battling the effects pandemic, along with the rest of the country.
They say that the firm’s Audi, Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes, Porsche, Toyota and Volkswagen divisions all contributed to the improved profits.
Martin Vessey, company secretary, said in the accounts: ‘Following the Prime Minister’s addressed to the nation on March 23, 2020, all vehicle showrooms were required to close immediately as part of the country’s lockdown measures to control the spread of Covid-19.
‘This had the effect of shifting vehicle sales that the group was unable to complete during the first week of March 2020, which is the group’s biggest trading month of the year from the previous financial year into this financial year.
‘Vehicle workshop activity also reduced significantly as the group was restricted to maintaining and repairing vehicles of designated key workers (Eg NHS staff) during this lockdown period.
‘Workshop capacity increased gradually from May 11, 2020 and vehicle showrooms reopened on June 1 2020 following detailed preparations to ensure that “Covid-secure” procedures were in place in line with the guidelines issued by the government, including social distancing enhanced hygiene measures and other safe working practices to protect the well being of employees and customers.
‘The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic continued to disrupt the group’s trading activities during the year, in common with many other businesses.
‘A tiered system of restrictions was introduced by the government, with effect from October 14 2020, followed by a second national lockdown from November 5, 202o t0 December 1, 2020, after which an amended tier system of restrictions was applied.
‘A third national lockdown came into effect on January 6, 2021, which continued to apply for the remainder of the group’s financial year and into April 2021.’
How did other dealer groups get on in 2020?
- Dealer group Harwoods announces reduced 2020 profit of £2.57m
- Mercedes-Benz Retail Group announces pre-tax loss of £20.9m in 2020
- Glyn Hopkin posts improved profit in 2020 despite being hit by pandemic
- Hendy Group announces reduced 2020 pre-tax profit of £1.11m – despite being one of few dealers to see improved turnover
- Peter Vardy sees profits rise by close to 50 per cent as dealer group comes out on top in battle against pandemic
- Rybrook Group announces reduced pre-tax profit of £3.25m for 2020
- Arnold Clark posts mighty profit of £156.5m for 2020 and now calls itself a ‘stronger’ and ‘leaner’ business
- Donnelly Group benefits from furlough scheme to make £1.46m profit in 2020 after previous loss of £2.66m
- Bells Motor Group posts improved pre-tax profit of £1.4m after claiming nearly £400,000 in furlough cash
- Motorline doubles 2020 pre-tax profits but relies heavily on government furlough cash, claiming £7.1m
- Jardine Motors Group suffers catastrophic year as £8.3m operating profit slides to £9.8m loss despite £12m-plus furlough support
- Trade Centre Group’s pre-tax profit drops by 58 per cent to £7.5m for year, thanks to pandemic
- Furrows enjoys 38 per cent profit rise after being given more than £1.5m of furlough grants
- John Clark Motor Group’s pre-tax profit more than doubles to £6.25m despite drop in sales
- Bentleys Motor Group swings from loss to profit – helped by furlough handouts
- Williams Group’s pre-tax profit soars by 114 per cent to £6m helped by £5m-plus in furlough support
- Lookers 2020 results show £14.1m profit as it emerges from turbulent year as ‘a better business’
- WR Davies notches up record year as nearly £1.5m in furlough cash helps it through pandemic
- Caffyns’ pre-tax profit soars by nearly 1,300 per cent, thanks to £1.3m in furlough grants
- Johnsons Cars pre-tax profit soars to £3.2m from £632,000 during ‘turbulent year’
- Yeomans more than doubles its pre-tax profit after claiming £2.53m in furlough grants
- Vertu Motors: ‘Impressive’ results show group made £24.6m profit last year – ahead of all predictions