Vertu Motors is expecting to put most of its staff on furlough leave during the coronavirus crisis – and has issued a statement detailing its current financial position and strategy for the weeks ahead.
The company, which called a temporary halt to its retail sales operation last night, has acknowledged that its dealerships will remain closed for the time being.
However, it points out that it has a strong online operation and says: ‘We anticipate that the group’s digital presence will continue to be available, although delivery activity is now curtailed.’
Turning to their financial situation, Vertu bosses say: ‘We are fortunate that the group has a very strong balance sheet, with low levels of debt, significant assets and liquidity.’
But they add that owing to the disruption caused by coronavirus, they are using extra stocking loans and are in discussions with their ‘strongly supportive’ banks about the future.
In a Covid-19 update, Vertu’s bosses list several key points:
- All areas of expenditure have been examined to identify costs which can be removed or reduced, and a number of weeks ago a capital expenditure and recruitment freeze was initiated.
- It’s anticipated that the vast majority of the group’s staff will be subject to the government’s job retention scheme, which involves being put on ‘furlough leave’.
- The group will use the business rates relief which the government has extended – and take advantage of delayed payments of taxes offered by HMRC.
- Increased focus has been put on the management of stock, debtors and creditors.
- And the group is working with its landlords regarding the payment of rents.
Vertu, the fifth largest car dealer in the UK, plans to deliver its nest set of financial results on May 6 as scheduled. But ‘considering the ongoing situation,’ the board, headed by CEO Robert Forrester, pictured, is not likely to recommend a final dividend.