Car dealer group Lookers has reported it expects to make a profit before tax of around £10m for 2020 – up from £4.2m for 2019.
In an update to the Stock Market this morning, the group also said talks with bankers were ‘progressing’ to extend the group’s revolving credit facilities which expire in a year.
Lookers is reported to have faced difficult conversations with a consortium of four banks over the last year as it looked to secure the funding.
At the end of December, the group says it has net debt of around £45m, down from £59.5m at the end of 2019.
Lookers said that in April it will be issuing a trading statement for the first half of 2021 and at that point will confirm a date when it would release its 2020 numbers.
Marshall Motor Group declared its 2020 results last week while Pendragon is set to reveal its results next week.
Lookers recently brought in BDO as its new auditors who are assessing the group’s accounts. The work is ‘progressing as planned’, said Lookers.
Previous auditors Deloitte are under investigation by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) which is looking at the audits of the group for the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2018.
Deloitte were the group’s auditors from 2006.
The upgrade to the group’s profit for 2020 will be well received as analysts had previously predicted the group would make a small loss for 2020.
Lookers timeline: What’s happened when?
Click on the date to read the full story
March 15, 2021 – Lookers’ previous auditors Deloitte under investigation by Financial Reporting Council of its work on the group’s accounts in 2017 and 2018.
March 2, 2021 – FCA investigation closed and no fine imposed on Lookers. FCA expressed ‘concerns’ relating to ‘historic culture, systems and controls’, but said no further action would be taken.
January 29, 2021 – Lookers revealed it lost £36.1m in the first half of 2020. The interim results led to shares being relisted on London Stock Exchange. They immediately rose 77 per cent.
January 6, 2021 – Lookers appoints Anna Bielby as interim chief financial officer, but there was no news on the delayed interim results.
December 29, 2020 – A third of shareholders vote against Lookers directors’ remuneration packages – including CEO Mark Raban’s £450k salary – at a general meeting.
December 18, 2020 – Lookers tells investors that its interim results, promised to be delivered before the end of the year, will now not be published.
December 9, 2020– Lookers reveals interim CFO Jim Perrie has quit early and says it is ‘unlikely’ the interim results will be out before the end of the year.
November 25, 2020 – Lookers finally releases its annual accounts for 2019 showing a statutory loss for 2019 of £45.5m. Promises interim results in December and the hopeful reinstatement of shares on Stock Market.
October 31, 2020 – Long-standing Lookers non-executive director Tony Bramall, one of the group’s major investors, brings forward the date he will leave the board to the end of December. No reason is given for his early departure.
October 19, 2020 – Lookers updates market on performance in Q3, but still no word on its 2019 accounts or the FCA investigation. Analysts expect results to be out before December.
August 20, 2020 – Accounts delayed for fourth time and no promise given as to when they’ll be published.
June 9, 2020 – Lookers says it will suspend shares on July 1. Delays accounts for third time and says they’ll be published ‘no later than the end of August 2020’.
June 5, 2020 – Lookers says it will axe 12 dealerships and cut 1,500 jobs.
May 2020 – Pendragon CEO Bill Berman admits he wrote to Lookers to discuss a merger and updates Stock Market to that effect. Move described as ‘two drunk men bumping into each other in a bar’.
April 2020 – Fraud investigation deepens. £4m charge revealed and firm says there could be more. Delays accounts to June.
March 12, 2020 – New chief operating officer Cameron Wade leaves role after only a month in post.
March 11, 2020 – Lookers delays results, saying that in final stages of preparation ‘potentially fraudulent transactions’ in one division were discovered. Promises results in April.
November 2019 – Chief executive Andy Bruce and chief operating officer Nigel McMinn leave firm abruptly.
June 2019 – FCA launches review into sales processes at Lookers between January 2016 and June 2019. Lookers cannot ‘estimate what effect, if any, the outcome of the investigation may have’.
December 2018 – Lookers launches independent internal audit into sales process. It eventually finds ‘control issues’ in sales process where ‘improvements’ are needed. Findings handed to FCA.