The group has said it has traded ahead of the prior year with like-for-like profit growth in new retail and used car sales, fleet and commercial sales and vehicle servicing.
Chairman Paul Williams said: ‘In addition to the growth in like-for-like profits, we have continued to see an increased contribution to profitability from the dealerships we acquired in the previous financial year.
‘Our total revenue during the period grew by 11.6 per cent, within which our like-for-like vehicle revenues grew by 5.1 per cent.’
New retail car sales volumes for Vertu grew on a like-for-like basis in the four months ended June 30, 2012 by 0.3 per cent against an increase in UK private registrations of 10.1 per cent.
‘The market is witnessing increased levels of self-registration by UK dealers which is inflating registration data compared to sales levels,’ said Williams. ‘The group continues to follow a policy of not engaging in significant self-registration activity. Like-for-like new retail car profitability rose 4.7 per cent in the period.’
Importantly, fleet and commercial volumes were up 12.2 per cent like-for-like in the four-month period compared to a market decline in registrations of 0.8 per cent.
Used vehicle sales volumes rose on a like-for-like basis 6.7 per cent; gross margins were stable compared to the same period last year; new retail car like-for-like margins increased to 7.9 per cent; and used car like-for-like margins increased to 10.9 per cent.
Like-for-like aftersales margins were slightly lower at 42.8 per cent, however. ‘This is a result of the group’s strategy to increase service retention for used car customers,’ said Williams. ‘This strategy results in lower margins, with increased overall profits due to the increase in service volumes.’
Vertu also announced a number acquisitions in the four-month period.
In May the group introduced Ford commercial vehicle sales and aftersales to the Bristol Street Commercials site in Swindon, and in June acquired the trade and assets of two Ford dealerships in Durham and Hartlepool from Holiways Limited.
The group also acquired the trade and assets of a Suzuki dealership in Mansfield from Co-op Group Motors Limited, last month. ‘The cash consideration paid was £1.8m, and a further franchise will be added to this dealership in the coming weeks,’ added Williams.