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Interim Results

Auto Trader revenues up

10 November 2016 07:47

Auto Trader Group's revenues rose by 11% to £153.9 million in the six months to 25 September.

Underlying operating profit was up 23% to £102.3 million (H1 2016: £83.0 million) and operating profit rose by 21% to £100.6 million (H1 2016: £82.9 million).

Underlying operating profit margin rose by 6% pts to 66% (H1 2016: 60%).

Other highlights:

- Basic EPS up 28% to 7.65p per share (H1 2016: 5.98p)

- Operating cash flow up 17% to £100.8 million (H1 2016: £86.0 million)

- Net external debt down £33.1 million to £359.5 million (March 2016: £392.6 million), representing a reduction in leverage6 to 1.8x (March 2016: 2.2x)

- Interim dividend declared of 1.7p per share to be paid in January 2017 (H1 2016: 0.5p per share)

- Rolling programme of share buy-backs commenced and set to continue for the rest of the year, with 12.8 million shares purchased during the first half at a total cost of £48.9 million (including expenses)

- Change from 52-week to annual accounting period will add five trading days to the current financial year Operational highlights

- Cross-platform visits increased by 36% to 58.5 million (H1 2016: 43.0 million) with consumer audience four times larger than that of the nearest competitor

- Advert Views per month increased by 4% to 250 million (H1 2016: 240 million)

- Number of retailer forecourts advertising on the Auto Trader marketplace down 1% at 13,374 (H1 2016: 13,503)

- Average Revenue Per Retailer Forecourt (ARPR) per month up £179 (or 13%) to £1,526 when compared to the corresponding period last year (H1 2016: £1,347)

- Launched new products for both consumers and retailers, including consumer reviews of retailers and video adverts

- Gained FCA authorisation enabling our retailers to display their finance solutions on their Auto Trader adverts

Chief executive Trevor Mather said: "Auto Trader, the UK's leading digital automotive marketplace has delivered a strong first half performance. We have felt no discernible change in the competitive environment and no noticeable impact from Brexit to date.

"We remain focused on creating a simpler and more efficient marketplace, as well as enhancing the experience we deliver to consumers. Trust and transparency are key purchase drivers in today's consumer buying journey. Auto Trader's recent Market Report found that only 7% of consumers trust car retailers. We have therefore continued to improve our consumer experience by launching products and services such as dealer reviews and vehicle check that promote greater trustworthiness in retailers, as well as providing real time valuations that help to improve transparency in the car buying process.

"Despite the current wider economic uncertainty, the Board is confident of delivering its growth expectations for the second half of the year."

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Related Company: AUTO

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