Belfast Telegraph

Charles Hurst Ltd

By John Simpson

In 2008, for the first time in 14 years, Charles Hurst has reported a pre-tax loss on its business during the year.

The consolidated results for these Northern Ireland companies reflect the downturn in the economy and its impact on the vehicle trade. Turnover fell by nearly 20% to £328m: £75m less than in 2007.

The reduced level of turnover fed into the operating and pre-tax profits.

Operating profit would have been £2.3m but for an exceptional loss of £4.1m recorded because of the closure of businesses. When net interest costs are also deducted, the pre-tax position was a loss of nearly £4.4m.

The accounts have been prepared on a going concern basis. The assurance confirms the dependence of this company for funding through its parent company, Lookers plc. Details of the amended credit and term loan facilities are outlined together with an assurance that the directors have a reasonable expectation that the group and company have adequate resources to continue in operational existence for the foreseeable future.

Employment in the company has been maintained with only a 4% fall in the average number of employees. Stock levels, mainly of vehicles and parts, fell by 23%.

The balance sheet value of shareholders funds fell from £47m at the end of 2007 to £42m a year later: a fall of 10%.

Belfast Telegraph