10 march 2020 – final results

The automotive retailer has released final results for the year ended 31 December 2019.  This was a year of record revenue and a fifth year of like-for-like revenue growth since the company’s IPO.  Reported revenue was £2.3bn, with modest growth helping to mitigate the impact of significant margin pressure across all main revenue streams as well as the impact of loss-making businesses acquired during the year.  Underlying profit before tax was £22.1m (2018 restated: £24.7m).  This translated into underlying earnings per share of 22.9p versus 26.3p a year earlier.  A final dividend for 2019 of 5.69p per share which will be paid on 22 May, the ex-dividend date being 24 April   The full year dividend is therefore held at 8.54p per share with dividend cover of 2.7x (2018: 3.2x).  The balance sheet remains strong, supported by £124.9m of freehold land and buildings.  Outlook for the current year is currently unchanged but clearly these are uncertain times for anyone reliant on consumer confidence.  Taking this into account we still believe the shares are cheap and rate them as a BUY.