Had Inchcape only owned 49% in 1997 the comparative turnover figure would have been £3,000.3 million with pre-tax profits of £70.7 million. The company said: 'Based on these revised comparatives, weaknesses in the currencies in which Inchcape does business compared with Sterling accounted for all of the reduction in turnover and £7.9 million of the reduction in headline profit before tax. This was also reduced by weak trading within Inchcape's Asian marketing operations and increased interest charges on a higher level of debt, but a substantial improvement in motors almost offset these effects.'
The motors operations, which will remain as the ongoing business of the group, performed strongly with operating profits up 16% to £61.7 million and would have increased by 25% at constant exchange rates. The import and distribution business, which accounts for more than three-quarters of motors operating profits, grew 27% with UK franchises helping to offset losses attributed to the Asian crisis and the strength of Sterling.