Manchester’s Auto Trader ups profit 91% to £301m

Manchester-based FTSE 100 firm Auto Trader Group plc said its revenue rose 65% to £432.7 million in the year to March 31, 2022, and was up 17% on 2020.

Auto Trader said profit before tax rose 91% to £301 million and was up 20% on 2020.

Total dividends for the year will rise to 8.2p per share from 5p.

Auto Trader shares rose about 2% to around £5.79 to give the company a stock market value of about £5.5 billion.

Auto Trader CEO Nathan Coe said: “This year marks the best financial and operational performance in our history, which is credit to our people and the partnerships we have with our customers.

“We are well placed to continue growing our core business while establishing the products that retailers will need to shift more of the car buying journey online, on Auto Trader.

“Despite the current high levels of economic uncertainty and industry change, we enter the year with good reason for both confidence and optimism.”

In its outlook, Auto Trader said: “The new financial year has started well …

We are anticipating another good year of ARPR growth, underpinned by our product lever.

“We expect growth in the product lever to be greater than 2021, but less than the exceptional performance achieved in 2022.

“We expect the price lever to be broadly consistent with last year, and the stock lever to be flat.

“We anticipate average retailer forecourts to be marginally down year-on-year, as market conditions start to toughen.

Consumer Services is expected to increase at a rate of low-mid single digits year-on-year, while Manufacturer and Agency remains unclear due to well documented supply chain issues. These two areas only represent c.10% of total group revenue.  

“Despite pressure on costs, we anticipate operating profit margins to be consistent year-on-year at 70%.

This outlook does not include the acquisition of Autorama, which will be provided upon completion.

“The completion date is not yet known as not all regulatory approvals have been received.

Despite growing economic uncertainty, the board is confident of meeting its growth expectations for the year.”

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.