LONDON, March 12 Multinational car dealer
Inchcape posted a better-than-expected 10 percent rise
in full-year profit, helped by strong growth in Asia and a
robust performance in Britain.
The London-based firm, which sells and distributes cars for
manufacturers such as Toyota, Mercedes-Benz and BMW in 26
countries, reported 2012 pretax profit of 250.3 million pounds
($373 million), up from 227.7 million pounds a year earlier, on
sales 4.4 percent up at 6.1 billion pounds.
The company was expected to report an average pretax profit
of 248 million pounds, according to a Thomson Reuters poll of
The growth rate was slightly down on last year's 13 percent
rise but the company is now close to returning to levels of
profit delivered at the market peak in 2007.
The company said its recent investment in high growth and
high margin areas in Asia Pacific and emerging markets,
including Hong Kong, Chile and Australia, were paying off.
Its South Asia business delivered a 31.6 percent rise in
vehicle sales, helped by robust premium and luxury markets, with
Australian car sales up 18.2 percent.
Sales in Europe fell 23.5 percent as trading conditions,
particularly those in Greece, continued to be challenging but it
achieved sales grow of 3.6 percent in Britain.
European car sales slumped to a 17-year low in 2012 with
only Britain bucking the trend with 5.3 percent growth, although
at just over 2 million vehicles, sales were still 15 percent
below 2007 levels.
The company said it was confident it would deliver further
growth in 2013 given that 70 percent of its group profit now
comes from Asia Pacific and emerging markets.
"Asia Pacific and emerging markets ... are underpinned by
population growth, wealth creation, increasing car penetration
and industry premiumisation," said chief executive André
"We are confident that Inchcape will continue to produce
sustainable earnings growth and strong returns for our
The dealer increased the total dividend for the year by 32
percent to 14.5 pence per share.