Pendragon's first-half profit tops expectations after strong online performance

Car dealerships group Pendragon has seen first-half profit exceed its initial expectations as its online business performed strongly during the pandemic-related lockdowns.

The new Evans Halshaw Car Store in Shrewsbury
The new Evans Halshaw Car Store in Shrewsbury

The company reported profit before tax of £35.1 million for the six months ended June 30, compared to a loss of £31 million last year.

Meanwhile, group revenue increased to £1.8 billion from £1.2 billion.

Pendragon has Evans Halshaw dealerships in Shrewsbury, Stourbridge, Walsall, Worfield and Wolverhampton, and also a Stratstone site in Wolverhampton.

It said significant improvements in its online business enabled the group to largely mitigate the impact of the third national lockdown in the first quarter and emerge strongly in quarter two, out-performing the market in both new and used cars.

The firm said strong trading performance was underpinned by the delivery of the group’s cost restructuring programme, delivering material cost savings.

CEO Bill Berman said: “The first half of the year marked another strong period of progress and growth within the business despite the impact of a nationwide lockdown in the first quarter. We exceeded our initial expectations for the half and delivered an underlying profit before tax of £35.1 million.

“While we acknowledge the positive market tailwinds, much of this progress has been underpinned by our new strategy, which has resulted in significant improvements to the group’s digital capabilities and cost savings associated with the restructure of our store estate and the improved efficiency of our operating model. The work undertaken to advance our online channels last year meant more than 40,000 vehicles were delivered to customers during the lockdown period alone.

“In line with the wider market, we are anticipating continued shortages in both new and used vehicle supply for the remainder of the year. We’re continuing to deliver on our strategy and see significant prospects for the group to capitalise on the exciting market opportunities ahead. We remain confident that underlying profit before tax for the full year will be £55 million to £60 million, ensuring we stay on track to deliver our target of £85 million to £90 million by financial year 2025.”

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