Belfast Telegraph

Leading motor dealer's pre-tax profits accelerate towards £2m

By Margaret Canning

One of Northern Ireland's biggest car dealers has doubled pre-tax profits to £1.9m in the year to the end of October 2016.

New and used car seller Donnelly Bros Garages, which is based in Dungannon, holds 32 franchises including Fiat, Honda, Vauxhall, Volkswagen and a number of others.

It was founded in 1930 and has eight sites in Belfast, Ballymena, Dungannon - where there are two sites - Eglinton, Enniskillen, Newtownabbey and Omagh.

Donnelly Bros is led by Terence and Raymond Donnelly, and chaired by Paul Rooney.

Group company Donnelly Bros Garages (Dungannon) reported a 12% increase in turnover to reach £277m. Pre-tax profits were up from £948,256 to £1.88m.

However, there was no analysis given of turnover - including what proportion of sales were from used cars - as the report said disclosure would be prejudicial to the group's interests.

The growth in sales and pre-tax profits comes as new car sales in Northern Ireland decline in the present financial year.

Sales fell by 9.4% in May, based on the same period a year earlier.

And year-to-date sales are also down, falling by 5.8% based on the same period a year earlier, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Donnelly Bros employs 659 people and describes itself as Northern Ireland's biggest independent car dealer. Other major dealers like Charles Hurst and Isaac Agnew are part of larger groups - Lookers plc and Sytner Group respectively.

A strategic report filed with the group accounts said it faced challenges such as the current economic environment, competition from other dealers, supplier stability and franchise support.

But the directors said the firm mitigated such risks by avoiding being too dependent on any one car manufacturer, providing strong customer service and after-sales support.

The strategic report said: "The directors are satisfied with the results for the year and consider the financial position at the year end to be satisfactory.

"The directors have plans to ensure the group is strongly placed to retain its market position and continued profitability.

"Since the year end, performance to date has been satisfactory."

Donnelly Bros would not comment further on the factors behind its growth but referred enquiries to its company report. The report reveals that subsidiary Donnelly Motorstore Ltd acquired Gormley Motors in Omagh for £120,000 during 2016.

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