DEALER group Vertu Motors has appointed a new chairman and announced a strong set of trading results so far this financial year.
The company believes that thanks to strong revenue growth during the four month period to June 30, 2014, it will be ahead of current market expectations.
In a trading update, the group’s total revenues in the period grew by 34.8 per cent with like-for-like revenues up by 16.4 per cent. Total gross profit also increased by 28.4 per cent – and Vertu says this is reflects the impact of higher volumes of vehicles sold and acquisitions with like-for-like gross profit increasing by 9.9 per cent.
However, Vertu Motors’ like-for-like new vehicle margins and gross profit per unit declined ‘as a consequence of driving volume to hit manufacturer targets’, said the trading update.
Its fleet operation’s like-for-like volumes and sales of commercial vehicles also increased – 12 per cent and 26.9 per cent respectively.
Meanwhile, used vehicle sales grew on a like-for-like basis by 13.5 per cent during the period and like-for-like margins and gross profit per unit also increased as ‘strong pricing disciplines were maintained’.
Vertu says it outperformed the used car market in the four-month period and put this down to increased profitability from turning around acquired businesses, and the group’s used car marketing strategy – which is focused in particular on the bristolstreet.co.uk and macklinmotors.co.uk web sites – is improving the group’s market share in used vehicles.
According to the company, the group’s websites generated more website visits than any other automotive franchise retailer in the UK in June 2014.
In aftersales, Vertu increased like-for-like sales, gross profits and net profits during the period.
Looking to the rest of the financial year, Vertu says: ‘The board remains confident that the group is well placed to maximise the opportunity for profitable growth both from the turnaround in profitability of recent acquisitions and from favourable market conditions.’ The update added Vertu expects to outperform the market.
VERTU has also appointed a new chairman. Peter Jones will join the board as non-executive chairman on January 1, 2015 and will succeed Paul Williams who is retiring at the end of this year after seven years in the position.
Jones is well-known in the industry – he jointly owns the independent motor group Bramall and Jones Ltd and has held positions at Inchcape and Rover Cars UK and Ireland. From 2008 to 2013 Jones served as an executive director of Lookers plc including the CEO role from October 2009 to the end of December 2013.
Robert Forrester CEO of Vertu said: ‘I am particularly pleased Peter has agreed to join Vertu as chairman. Peter is a man for whom I have a deep respect. He is an industry heavyweight with broad experience and is respected across the automotive sector and by the investment community. I look forward to working with him and benefitting from his guidance.’