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Marshall owner Constellation sees overall loss deepen from £800,000 to £103.9m

  • Constellation Automotive Group’s overall loss increases by 12,888%
  • Revenue tumbles by 16% to under £7bn for 2022/23 financial year
  • It makes pre-tax loss of £140.7m versus £34.3m profit the year before
  • Operating profit plummets by 90% to £19.5m
  • Adjusted Ebitda drops by 40% to £201.6m

Time 10:41 am, January 8, 2024

Constellation Automotive Group suffered an overall loss of nearly £104m last year – a huge drop on the £800,000 total that it lost the previous year.

Newly published accounts for the year ended April 2, 2023 show that the owner of Marshall, Cinch, BCA and WeBuyAnyCar made a pre-tax loss of £140.7m versus a profit before tax of £34.3m during its previous financial year.

The documents on the Companies House website also show that revenue at the digital car marketplace tumbled by 16.3% from £8.315bn to £6.961bn.

Operating profit plummeted by 90% from £186.3m to £19.5m, while its adjusted Ebitda of £201.6m was down by 40.1% on the £336.3m of the previous year.

Once tax and other costs were taken into account, it lost £103.9m in total versus the £800,000 overall loss of the year before – a whopping 12,888% plunge – with Constellation blaming ‘abnormally poor market conditions’.

Meanwhile, the highest-paid director was paid £1.2m – down from £4.1m the year before. That was part of £5.5m paid to Constellation’s executive members, versus £10.3m in the year to April 3, 2022.

In the accompanying report, signed on behalf of the board by chief financial officer James Mullins, Constellation said ‘challenging market conditions’ had driven ‘business underperformance’.

It said: ‘Challenges deriving from the ongoing war in Ukraine, both in the supply chain of new vehicles and macroeconomic implications of increased energy prices, high inflation and rising interest rates, saw the focus diverted from continuing the acceleration out of the Covid-impacted trading periods to right-sizing for conditions and protection of liquidity.’

Constellation’s UK vehicle remarketing arm ‘underperformed expectations’ with an adjusted Ebitda that fell by 36.4% to £87.8m from £138.1m during the year ended April 3, 2022.

That was on revenue that went up by 11.8% from £2.596bn to £2.902bn.

Constellation attributed the drop in Ebitda to ‘significantly reduced auction entry volumes and higher unabsorbed overheads caused by overcapacity in retail operations’.

Auction volumes fell by 15% to 950,000 units from 1.1m.

But the group ended the year with liquidity of £271.4m – up from £247.1m the year before, which is said it achieved via ‘a combination of reduced inventory holding and actions taken following a property review’.

Its vehicle-buying division – WeBuyAnyCar in the UK and International Vehicle Buying (‘IVB’) operations in Europe – saw revenue drop to £3.558bn versus £5.250bn the year before, while adjusted Ebitda went down from £162.3m to £89.9m – drops of 32.2% and 44.6% respectively.

WeBuyAnyCar volumes were down by 13% from 565,000 to 491,000 units, with the average revenue per vehicle falling from £9,100 to £7,100.

Nevertheless, Constellation said WeBuyAnyCar had ‘continued its excellent performance’, providing 491,000 units for auction customers – a 13% drop on the 565,000 figure of the year before.

Among the events after the balance sheet date, Constellation – whose ultimate controlling party is TDR Capital LLP – said it sold its Rockingham car park site on April 28, 2023 for £22.9m.

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John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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