Profits soar for Inchcape
Car dealer and distributor Inchcape has revealed soaring profits following a series of disposals over the past 12 months.
The business, which has operations in 32 countries around the world, said selling its retail operations in China, fleet business in the UK and sites in Australia all helped bank £108.8 million.
Bosses were cautious on the future with the coronavirus outbreak starting to show small signs of impact on the company.
Inchcape, which has its retail head office in Birmingham and Volkswagen dealerships at Stafford Park, Telford, and Vanguard Park, Shrewsbury, said: "The effect of coronavirus on demand and supply remains uncertain and we continue to monitor the situation closely.
"In February we have seen a small impact on our Asia business, with reduced footfall in Hong Kong, Singapore and Macau."
As a result of the sell offs, pre-tax profits jumped 256 per cent to £402m, with revenues also up 1.1 per cent to £9.38 billion.
The rise was also due to a hefty £175m "goodwill" value writedown on one of its UK operations in 2018.
Excluding one-off boosts to the balance sheet, underlying profits were down 6.9 per cent to £326.3m.
Chief executive Stefan Bomhard said: "Our performance in 2019 against the backdrop of challenging dynamics in several markets demonstrates the resilience in Inchcape's business model."
For the year ahead, the company warned: "We expect profits to be down modestly year-on-year. This excludes an anticipated transactional Australian dollar/Japanese yen headwind, profit lost following the disposals in 2019, and any impact from coronavirus.
"Key drivers to this include the market contraction in Singapore, continued political uncertainty in Hong Kong and weakness in the Australian market."
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