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Listers paid directors £7.12m during pandemic – despite firm claiming more than £13m in furlough cash, accounts show

  • Dealer group Listers paid directors £7.12m throughout the pandemic, firm’s annual accounts show
  • Firm claimed a total of £13.34m from government’s job retention scheme
  • Company saw profits rise to £23.84m in 12 months up to March 31, 2020

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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.

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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.

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‘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?

 

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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