Northern expansion leads to record results at Vertu Motors

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FAST GROWING car dealer Vertu Motors announced record annual profits following a string of acquisitions as it expands in the North.

The group, which has over a dozen sites in Yorkshire including dealerships in Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield, Wakefield, Barnsley and Doncaster, said annual profits rose 24 per cent to £26m and trading has been strong over the past few months.

Chief executive Robert Forrester said the group will continue to acquire dealerships. Last week it bought Leeds Jaguar for £650,000 in a deal which will combine its Jaguar and Land Rover operations in Leeds.

“The fragmented nature of the UK automotive retail sector means that significant growth potential remains,” said Mr Forrester.

In March, the group undertook an equity placing of £35m to fund its acquisition strategy. It said that many of its acquisitions are turnaround opportunities and a number are new start-up dealerships which have a weak customer database which is affecting their after sales business.

Mr Forrester said the Volkswagen emissions scandal has had no material impact on Vertu’s operations.

“The Volkswagen Group brands have seen profit perform ahead of last year on a like-for-like basis this year,” he added.

Analyst Adam Tomlinson at Liberum said: “Growth continues across all divisions and we are encouraged by the sustained out-performance in both after sales and used cars, which bodes well for long-term organic profit growth.

“The £35m fundraise proceeds are beginning to be deployed and we anticipate plenty of value accretive M&A over the near- term.

“Management has developed an excellent track record through its buy and build strategy, growing Vertu from scratch in 2007 to become the UK’s fifth largest dealership group.”