Marshall Motor Group has made it clear that it is ready to acquire businesses as Covid-19 is likely to accelerate consolidation in the UK automotive retail market.
Daksh Gupta, Marshall’s chief executive, said the impact of Covid-19 will accelerate the rationalisation and consolidation of the UK dealer networks, but the group is “well placed to capitalise on value accretive growth opportunities”.
He made the announcement as part of the company’s interim results announcement for the six months ended June 20, 2020.
Covid-19 has adversely affected the top 10 AM100 group, with revenue down from £1.18 billion to £895.3m over the six month period. Profit before tax has gone from £14.8m to a £10.7m loss over the same period
The group’s underlying operting profits went from £20.2m in the first six months of 2019, to an opertating loss of £3.6m over the same period this year.
Like-for-like new vehicle unit sales dropped by 37.7%, although this was against a market down 48.5%.
Like-for-like used unit sales fell by 31.8% during the period and aftersales revenue fell by 28.5%.
Like all others across the industry, Marshall had to close its businesses as the lockdown hit in March with all dealerships shuttered, other than 62 aftersales operations which remained open to support key workers and commercial vehicle operators.
While Marshall did make use of the Government’s furlough scheme, it is back up and running to 88% capacity with colleagues returning to work.
Marshall has an extended £120 million revolving credit facility until July 2023 that will help fortify the business, as well as potentially fund some new acquisitions.
Gupta said: “Despite the significant challenges presented by COVID-19, the group has delivered a resilient first half performance and once again outperformed the market.
“Since full reopening under Covid-19 secure guidelines on the June 1, trading has been robust and our important Q3 order take is encouraging.”
Gupta praised his colleagues for going “above and beyond” during a difficult period of trading and said: “I am incredibly proud of their commitment and dedication.
“On behalf of the Board I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank them for their passion, hard work and support.
“I would also like to take the opportunity to thank our brand and business partners who have been exceptionally supportive throughout.”