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Yet another delay for car dealer group Lookers as it reveals interim results won’t be out this year

Time 12:02 pm, December 18, 2020

Troubled dealer group Lookers has told the Stock Market the interim results it hoped to deliver before the end of the year will not be published.

Shares in the group – which were suspended in July – will remain suspended as hopes they would be relisted this month were dashed along with the delay.

The delay is yet another set back for the group which has been beset with problems this year.

Lookers has been engulfed by an internal fraud, which has now been reported to police, and an FCA investigation into its practices.

Results have been consistently delayed all year.

Earlier this month, Lookers revealed interim chief financial officer Jim Perrie had quit too. He followed long term board member Tony Bramall out of the door who stepped down earlier than planned.

The announcement to the Stock Market said: ‘Further to its announcement on December 9, the company now confirms that its unaudited 2020 interim results will not be published by the end of December. The company intends to publish these results as soon as possible.’

No information was given as to why there was yet another delay.

Lookers revealed at the end of last month that it made a statutory loss of £45.5m in 2019, compared to a profit on the same basis of £41.9m the year before.

At the time, executive chairman Phil White apologised to shareholders for the delay in the publication of the annual results and the suspension of shares in July.

White said: ‘The last 12 months has been extremely challenging for Lookers with the ongoing impact of Covid-19 and the accounting issues.

‘Significant restructuring activity has been necessary to ensure we lay the right foundations for the future.’

Despite the losses, the group’s EBITDA figure saw it placed third in the Car Dealer Top 100 list of the most profitable dealers in the UK.

Lookers timeline: What’s happened when? 

December 9, 2020 Lookers reveal interim CFO Jim Perrie has quit early and say it is ‘unlikely’ the interim results would be out before the end of the year.

November 25, 2020 – Lookers finally release their annual accounts for 2019 showing a statutory loss for 2019 of £45.5m. Promise interim results in December and the hopeful reinstatement of shares on Stock Market.

October 31, 2020 – Long standing Lookers non executive director Tony Bramall, one of the group’s major investors, bought forward the date he would leave the board to the end of December. No reason was given for his early departure.

October 19, 2020 – Lookers updates market on performance in Q3, but still no word on its 2019 accounts or the FCA investigation. Analysts expect results to be out before December.

August 20, 2020 – Accounts delayed for the fourth time and no promise given as to when they’ll be published.

June 9, 2020 – Lookers says it will suspend shares on July 1. Delays accounts for third time and says they’ll be published ‘no later than the end of August 2020’.

June 5, 2020 – Lookers says it will axe 12 dealerships, cut 1,500 jobs.

May 2020 – Pendragon CEO Bill Berman admits he wrote to Lookers to discuss a merger and updates Stock Market to that effect. Move described as ‘two drunk men bumping into each other in a bar’.

April 2020 – Fraud investigation deepens. £4m charge revealed and firm says there could be more. Delays accounts to June.

March 12, 2020 – New chief operating officer Cameron Wade leaves role after only a month in post

March 11, 2020 – Lookers delays results saying in final stages of preparation ‘potentially fraudulent transactions’ in one division were discovered. Promises results in April.

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November 2019 – Chief executive Andy Bruce and chief operating officer Nigel McMinn leave firm abruptly

June 2019 – FCA launches review into sales processes at Lookers between January 2016 and June 2019. Lookers cannot ‘estimate what effect, if any, the outcome of the investigation may have’.

December 2018 – Lookers launches independent internal audit into sales process. It eventually finds ‘control issues’ in sales process where ‘improvements’ are needed. Findings handed to FCA.

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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