Marshall Motor Group expects profit and cash generation for the first half of the year to be ‘exceptionally strong’.
The listed motor group issued an unscheduled Stock Market announcement today as it said the ‘positive tailwinds’ the sector has enjoyed have continued to boost its performance.
The dealer group said that even after repaying £4m in furlough support received during this year, underlying profit before tax in 2021 is ‘likely to be significantly ahead of market expectations’.
The dealer group went as far to say as its numbers for this year are likely to be ‘well ahead of the group’s historic record result’ too.
While Marshall did not give specific figures, analysts have hiked their forecasts by 20 per cent.
Zeus Capital today issued a briefing to investors that said it is increasing its forecasts from £22.1m profit for the year to £26.5m for Marshall.
It said this was ‘in line with management guidance that it is well ahead of its historic record result of £24.7m’.
Analyst Mike Allen wrote: ‘This latest earnings upgrade reinforces our view that MMH is a highly reliable platform that is well positioned to emerge as a sector winner.’
Marshall – and other dealer groups – have seen the positive effects of used cars appreciating in value and have been enjoying high levels of demand for new and used cars.
Marshall said it was also managing to ‘outperform’ the wider new and used car markets too.
As a result, the dealer group could resume dividends this year after its half year numbers are unveiled.
The group said: ‘The group expects to report an exceptionally strong first half performance in both profit and cash generation when it issues its interim results
‘The board understands the importance of dividends to shareholders and intends to resume the payment of dividends as soon as possible.
‘It will consider the position next at the time of the release of its interim results on August 10.’
Marshall did warn that there were ‘uncertainties’ ahead that could impact the second half of the year, though.
It said: ‘There remains a high level of uncertainty over the second half of 2021, and possibly longer, given the potentially significant impacts of new vehicle supply issues as a result of a well-documented worldwide shortage of semi-conductors, a realignment of used vehicle values and the continuing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘To date, supply issues have had limited impact on the group’s sales volumes, however supply in both new and used vehicles has tightened and there are signs that these issues will become more acute in the second half of the year and maybe beyond.’
Earlier this week, Vertu Motors also issued a profit forecast upgrade ahead of its AGM.
The fellow listed motor group said adjusted before tax profit for the year will be ‘above current expectations’ and in the range of £28m-£32m.
Mike Jones, former ASE Global chairman and automotive industry analyst, said the Marshall update followed a similar picture seen by dealers across the country.
He told Car Dealer: ‘The forecast upgrade from Marshall is clearly great news, reflecting the trends I have seen across the sector during the first half of this year.
‘Whilst there are no numbers quoted, it is notable that the group is forecasting record performance.
‘The ethics of the group have really shone through this year, with the directors not taking bonuses alongside the payback of £4m of government Covid support and committing to pay loyalty bonuses to staff.
‘It is great to see that this can all be achieved while delivering record results for shareholders, who look likely to see dividends resumed.’