Strong demand for new car plates boosts Vertu Motors

Robert Forrester: Chief executive  pleased with the way the business has performed.
Robert Forrester: Chief executive pleased with the way the business has performed.
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FAST growing car dealer Vertu Motors, which has over a dozen sites in Yorkshire following an acquisition spree, reported a rise in both revenue and profits and said ​it has a strong order book.

The dealer said it has seen good demand for new cars in September, which is the all important registration plate change month. It added that order levels are up on last year’s record levels.

Vertu, which has sites in Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield, Wakefield, Barnsley, Doncaster and Chesterfield, said it expects results for the year to February 2016 will be in line with expectations.

Over the five months to July 31, Vertu’s franchises reported growth of 1.5 per cent for new UK cars sold to individuals.

Vertu said the high level of UK registrations is being driven by a strong push from vehicle manufacturers thanks to the positive consumer and business outlook in the UK.

Elsewhere, the group said the UK commercial van market is performing very strongly with total market registrations up 18.8 per cent, reflecting the willingness of both large and small firms to invest in their businesses. The group’s like-for-like van sales rose 22.9 per cent.

In the used vehicles market, Vertu said strong demand for new cars over the last three years has resulted in an increase in the supply of used vehicles.

Used like-for-like sales volumes rose by four per cent against a very strong performance last year when volumes rose 12 per cent.

However a depreciation in the value of used cars resulted in a modest decline in gross margins and profit, in line with expectations.

Chief executive Robert Forrester said: “We are pleased with the way the business has performed in the period and the board is confident in the future.

“The recent strength of the new car market will continue to grow our high margin after-sales business.

“The UK economy is growing, the UK consumer is spending and new and used cars are very affordable.”

Vertu said it was continuing to look out for suitable acquisitions and is considering both profitable firms and turnaround opportunities.

Analyst Kevin Fogarty at Panmure said: “A strong like-for-like order book ahead of the key plate change in September provides support for second half expectations.”