The results were influenced by a strong performance from the company's fast-expanding bus business, but profits were offset by the decline in fortunes in the finance division. Motor division pre-tax profits declined fractionally to £7.5 million (1997: £7.6 million) on turnover up £422 million from £335 million, mainly through increased corporate sales to fleets. However, the increased contribution from new car sales was offset by a smaller contribution from used car sales in the dealership network and from the sale of ex-daily rental vehicles.
Expansion of the motor division is expected to be partly financed by the sale of the finance division. Now comprising 40 outlets, further franchises and more locations are expected to be announced this year. Meanwhile, Arriva Vehicle Rental expanded its daily rental operations to almost 60 sites with Hodgson saying: 'The rental operation will undergo a period of consolidation before beginning to achieve the benefits of an enhanced national network.'