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11 March, 2020 - 18:37 By Tony Quested

Marshall motors ahead despite potholes in the road

Marshall Motors in Cambridge believes it has the underlying structure and resilience, plus the financial clout, to clear multiple obstacles in its roadmap to growth.

The automotive retail group posted good results for the year to December 31 which showed a strong outperformance of the market and encouraging strategic growth. Twenty new businesses were hitched to the runaway bandwagon.Marshall also reported record revenue and a fifth year of like-for-like revenue growth since IPO.

The company believes it can put the brake on any perceived threats from falling new car sales, a bad Brexit and the threat to global markets from coronavirus.

Despite market challenges, like-for-like operating profit of £33.1 million was only down 4.1 per cent against last year’s record result though underlying profit before tax was 10.8 per cent down at £22.1m.

Like-for-like total new vehicle unit sales were up 0.3 per cent at a time when  market registrations nationally fell by 2.4 per cent, with both retail and fleet delivering a strong market outperformance.

Used car unit sales were 6.1 per cent ahead while UK market volumes declined 0.1 per cent. Further growth of 3.2 per cent was recorded in aftersales.

Marshall has recommended a final dividend of 5.69p giving a full year payout of 8.54p per share (2018: 8.54p). CEO Daksh Gupta said: “The group continued to perform well in 2019 and despite a sustained period of market decline has grown market share by outperforming in all of its key segments. 

“The group delivered record total reported revenue and achieved like-for-like revenue growth. It has taken advantage of continued market consolidation, completing a number of strategic acquisitions in 2019, adding 20 new businesses. We are particularly proud to have become Volkswagen Group’s largest partner in the UK.

“The board notes the latest forecast by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders for a further decline in the UK new car market in 2020 of 2.6 per cent. It is also cognisant of the potential impact that uncertainty over the outcome of future trade agreement negotiations between the UK and the European Union may have on the automotive sector.

“Although we have not seen an impact to date, the board is monitoring the potential impact of COVID-19 and is considering contingency plans in the event it starts to impact our dealerships.

“The board therefore remains cautious but our order book for the important March plate-change period is encouraging and our outlook for the full year is unchanged.

“The UK motor retail landscape may change over the years and decades ahead. The group’s longstanding strategy of partnering with the right brands in the right locations has positioned it well to remain a relevant and important part of that future landscape.”

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