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Cambria Automobiles PLC

Cambria Automobiles Solid results in Group’s 12th year of trading

Mark Lavery, Chief Executive Officer of Cambria said:

“The 2017/18 financial year has been a busy period across the Group and I am pleased with the progress that has been made. The changes made in the Brand portfolio have led to significant disruption in our day to day operations as we have closed these businesses and developed the new facilities for the new franchises. We have extended our representation in the High Luxury segment with the addition of one McLaren, two Bentley and two Lamborghini dealerships. All of these brands have been brought into the Group without the payment of goodwill and are exceptional examples of value creation for our shareholders.

The year has also seen a difficult new car market that has been impacted by weakening consumer demand in the face of the uncertainty around the Brexit negotiations, inconsistent messaging around the future of diesel engines and the impact on car supply from the change in emissions testing regulations to WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure) in September. We have also had to cope with Government driven central cost increases including the Apprenticeship Levy, pension contributions, increases in debit and credit card charges and increased property rating costs. Regrettably we have no control over these areas of cost increase.

That being said, our exceptional management team have worked incredibly hard and despite the uncertainty, disruption and brand portfolio changes we have delivered a solid revenue result and profit levels slightly ahead of market expectations. Our strong used car profit performance combined with growth in aftersales has been a significant contributor.

Current financial year trading has been in line with the Board’s expectations in September and October and we are excited about the opening of our new Hatfield site which will house Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin and McLaren. This state of the art facility will be fully operational in January 2019.

We are very enthusiastic about the potential for growth with our new McLaren, Bentley, Lamborghini and Peugeot businesses.

The Board remains confident that Cambria’s resilient business model, enhanced franchise portfolio, focus on delivering a superior Guest experience and financing arrangements leave it well positioned to take advantage of any opportunities that the current economic uncertainty will provide.”

Cambria Automobiles (LON:CAMB), the franchised motor retailer, announced its preliminary results for the year to 31 August 2018.

Financial Highlights

Year ended 31 August

2018

2017

£m

£m

Change

Revenue

630.0

644.3

-2.2%

Underlying EBITDA*

13.3

13.7

-2.9%

Underlying operating profit*

10.9

11.8

-7.8%

Underlying profit before tax*

9.8

11.3

-13.3%

Underlying profit before tax margin*

1.6%

1.8%

-20bps

Net Non-recurring income/ (expenses)

(0.7)

Underlying earnings per share*

7.84p

9.19p

-14.7%

Operating profit

10.2

11.8

-13.6%

Profit before tax

9.1

11.3

-19.3%

Earnings per share (basic)

7.27p

9.18p

-20.8%

Dividend per share

1.0p

1.0p

* These items exclude net non-recurring expenses of £0.7m relating to the refranchising activity and site closures (2017: nil)

· Strong balance sheet – net assets £56.6m (2016/17: £50.4m)

· Strong operational cash flows, cash position of £15.5m (2016/17: £23.0m)

· Significant investment in property portfolio during year deploying £20m in capex

· Net debt of £5.5m (2016/17: net cash £6.1m)

· Underlying Return on Equity at 14.7% (2016/17: 19.9%)

· Proposed final dividend of 0.75p, maintaining the full year dividend at 1.0p per share (2016/17: 1.0p)

· Refinancing of the Group’s debt facilities to provide a new £40.0m, five year Revolving Credit Facility arranged in November 2017

Operational Highlights

· The Group has been through a major year of change with eight of the Group’s 42 Franchised outlets either changing franchises or closing during this reporting period

· Significant development of the Group’s franchising strategy with the successful addition of three major High Luxury Segment (HLS) brand partners:

§ McLaren dealership in Hatfield opened in January 2018

§ Two Bentley dealerships in Essex and Kent opened in January 2018

§ Two Lamborghini dealerships in Essex and Kent opened in April and November 2018 respectively

· Addition of Peugeot into Warrington to replace Fiat in September 2018

· Planned closure of the Group’s two bodyshop operations, Alfa Romeo and Jeep in Chelmsford and Mazda and Honda in Tunbridge Wells to facilitate the addition of Bentley and Lamborghini in both locations

· Planned closure of the Group’s loss-making Blackburn site which previously represented Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Renault and Volvo

· New vehicle unit sales were, as expected down 17.2% (like-for-like down 14.8%) given the wider market softening, with the total financial impact slightly offset by a 1.2% increase in profit per unit as a result of the premium mix shift. The like-for-like units saw margin pressure with profit per unit down 2.6%

· Used vehicle unit sales down 6.9% following site closures (like-for like down 2.6%), offset by a 11.6% (like-for like 6.3%) improvement in profit per unit which reflects the Group’s portfolio changes and the additional new HLS brands

· Aftersales Revenue increased 1.6% (like-for-like increase 4.1%)

· Continuing investment in the Freehold portfolio; to increase operational capacity and achieve site potentials

· Swindon Jaguar Land Rover “Arch” retail concept development completed in July 2018

· Hatfield Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin and McLaren development progressing well for completion of Jaguar Land Rover in December 2018 and Aston Martin and McLaren in January 2019

· Chelmsford and Tunbridge Wells Freeholds completely redeveloped to deliver Bentley and Lamborghini dealerships

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Disclaimer: Statements in this article should not be considered investment advice, which is best sought directly from a qualified professional.