The 'substantial growth in turnover and profits' follows the addition of 25 dealerships during the year which takes the company's outlets to 76 as well as four independent body repair centres. The group is looking to have 100 dealerships by the end of next year and expects its contract hire operation - Vardy Contract Motoring - which operates almost 4,000 vehicles, to break even during the current financial year as it focuses on growing the fleet largely through private contract hire. Net debt at April 30 totalled £88 million of which £26 million related to the funding of the VCM fleet.
Total vehicle sales across the group increased 38% to 141,653 units from 102,264 in the year to April 30, 1998 as a result of organic as well as acquisition growth which largely came through the purchase of the Trust Motor Group for £37.7 million on July 1 last year and the Caledonia Motor Group for £18.4 million on February 1.
Chairman and chief executive Peter Vardy said: 'These results are particularly pleasing in the context of low levels of consumer confidence combined with unfavourable media coverage of new vehicle prices in the UK. In spite of extended service intervals and greater product reliability, we have seen significant growth in retail service activities, as well as growth in all aftersales operations as a result of our increased vehicle volumes.'