13 August 2019 – interim results

The group has reported its interim results for the six month period to 30 June and these have revealed that revenues rose 1.8% to £1.18bn (2018: £1.16bn) although underlying pre-tax profit fell by 5.3% to £15.2m (2018: £16.0m).  Earnings per share on the same basis declined by 6.8% to 15.0p (2018: 16.1p) although the interim dividend was raised by 32.6% to 2.85p (2018: 2.15p).  Net cash at the end of the period was £5.8m (2018: £0.9m) although after adopting IFRS 16, which relates to how leases are accounted for, reported net debt fell to £82,.2m from £92.7m a year earlier. The company has outperformed its peer group in new car sales to both fleet and retail customers in what have been challenging market conditions and this is clearly a solid performance under the circumstances.   We maintain our recommendation of BUY.