In a trading update, the firm noted a strong balance sheet, with net cash of about £8 million as of December 31 2021, compared to £40.7 million net debt in 2020.
The group, which has sites in the Black Country, Shropshire and Staffordshire, is presently carrying out a review of its strategic growth opportunities and capital allocation framework.
In March 2020, at the time of the first Covid-19 lockdown, the Lookers board announced a number of cash management initiatives including the suspension of dividends.
Given the financial position of the group and the repayment of all Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme receipts and Covid-19 grants relating to 2021, the board intends to recommend a dividend when it publishes its 2021 financial statements, subject to no material change in the trading environment.
Mark Raban, Lookers’ chief executive officer, said: “2021 was an exceptional year for Lookers and we now expect to beat our previous estimates with record profit for the year. This is a great achievement by the whole team in a year which brought many external challenges, including Covid and vehicle shortages, demonstrating the strength of our proposition.
“With net cash at the year end, we have a strong balance sheet and good capacity to invest in future growth opportunities.”