Vertu Motors plc, the automotive retailer with a network of 149 sales and aftersales outlets across the UK, announces its final results for the year ended 28 February 2021 ("Year").
Commenting on the results, Robert Forrester, Chief Executive Officer, said:
"These results, which are ahead of expectations, are outstanding in the Covid interrupted circumstances. I am proud of the entire Vertu team for their adaptability and effort to deliver these remarkable results.
The Group has significantly evolved during the year, with accelerated delivery of its strategy in achieving enhanced online sales capability via its inhouse developed Click2Drive technology platform, reduced cost base due to productivity gains and significantly grown the number of sales outlets.
We have started the new financial year very strongly, have generated record levels of cash and have a very strong balance sheet. We have now re-instated guidance. Brexit uncertainty is now behind us, and we are exceedingly well placed to benefit from the changes and opportunities which are ahead of us."
· Adjusted1 profit before tax of £24.6m ahead of Analysts' forecasts (2020: £23.0m)
· 18 sales outlets added to the Group since 1 March 2020, including the addition of 3 new franchise partners to the Group's portfolio - BMW, MINI and BMW Motorrad
· Strong, stable management, supported by scalable, sector-leading in-house developed technology and systems, provides assurance of tight control of operations and swift execution of strategies
· Substantial growth in online retailing using the Group's Click2Drive sales technology platform
· Increased efficiency of transaction processing including use of robotic process automation
· 38,446 new and used vehicles delivered from 1 January to 31 March 2021, despite lockdown restrictions keeping showrooms closed
· Increased awareness of the Group's core brands delivered through strong, effective marketing campaigns including significant TV advertising campaigns
· Excellent customer experiences delivered in the new environment: Used Car Net Promoter Score in H2 of 84%
· Strong start to new financial year with trading profits at a record level in the two months to April 2021. Adjusted profit before tax in the two months of £19.2m compared to £14.8m in the same months in 2019
· The Board expect the Group will deliver an adjusted profit before tax for the year ending 28 February 2022 in the range of £24.0m to £28.0m
· The Board is confident that, dependent on the financial performance of the Group, dividends can recommence in January 2022
· Group revenues of £2.5bn (2020: £3.1bn) (like-for-like decline of 21.6%) impacted by Government imposed lockdowns
· Gross margin increased to 11.8% (2020: 10.9%)
· Cost reductions2 exhibited delivering a £16.0m (7.2%) reduction in like-for-like operating expenses in the nine months from 1 June to 28 February
· Growth in Adjusted1 operating profit to £33.8m (2020: £32.2m)
· Profit before tax of £22.4m (2020: £7.3m)
· Underlying earnings per share increased to 5.27p (2020: 4.99p)
· No final dividend recommended in light of the Government support received during the Year
· Net tangible assets per share of 50.2p (2020: 46.0p) reflecting very strong asset base
· Record Free Cash Flow3 of £48.4m delivered
· Adjusted4 net cash of £1.4m at 28 February 2021 (2020: net debt £2.8m)
1 Excludes non-underlying items.
2 Excludes grant receipts in respect of the furlough scheme.
3 Net cash flow from operating activities less net capital expenditure incurred and lease cash flows.
4 Excludes amounts drawn on used vehicle stocking loans and IFRS 16 lease liabilities.
Vertu Management has recorded a webcast for analysts and investors. A recording of the webcast will be made available on Vertu's website this morning: investors.vertumotors.com