Vertu Motors drives ahead with expansion plans
MOTOR dealer Vertu is expecting to announce another acquisition within months as it continues to defy the downturn and drives ahead with expansion plans.
The Newcastle group – which trades as Bristol Street Motors – revealed its plans as it unveiled an almost 50% rise in half-yearly pre-tax profits. The figure increased to £2.8m from £1.9m in the six months to the end of August, despite revenues dropping from £423.5m to £401.3m.
Vertu credited the success of the Government’s scrappage scheme – which resulted in 1,686 car sales in the period – and the strength of the used car market for boosting profits.
It sold 3.7% more used cars than a year earlier in a market where demand for secondhand motors is exceeding supply.
Vertu chief executive Robert Forrester said: “Interestingly, the Government has actually made money on the scrappage scheme because the incremental tax raise on VAT has been higher than the subsidy.
“Used cars have also been very good for us in the period. Prices have held up well and increased. It has been a turnaround – whether it is the turnaround I don’t know.”
Vertu has opened 10 new dealerships since the start of March and now operates 50 franchised, four non-franchised and two standalone businesses around the UK.
Mr Forrester said: “We have grown the business substantially in the last few months.
“We are company that wants to grow – our strategy is to grow into a bigger group. We have £20m of net cash so we have the funds to do so.
“We are well positioned. This growth is sustainable; financially, we are very, very strong. We have systems and processes in place to do well.”