Belfast Telegraph

Donnellys post £1.9m profit as used cars help drive 20% rise in turnover

By Ryan McAleer

Donnelly Group, one of Northern Ireland's largest independent car dealerships, has reported a 20% rise in turnover to nearly £331m.

The Dungannon-based firm recorded £330.8m in revenue for the 14 months to the end of December, a £53.7m increase on the £277m recorded during the 12 months to the end of October 2016.

Pre-tax profits for the latest period were steady at £1.9m.

Amid declining sales for new cars, the firm said its increase in revenue had been driven by growth in the used car sales side of the business, as well as its aftersales services.

While new car registrations within the group dropped from 8,313 in 2016 to 7,711 last year, used car sales increased from 7,461 to 8,868 over the same period.

The company, which employs just under 700 people at eight locations, recently switched its reporting period to the calendar year.

Despite the significant increase in revenue, pre-tax profits increased by just 0.4% from £1.884m in 2016 to £1.891m last year.

But the company appears to be continuing with plans to expand.

Its workforce increased from 659 in 2016 to 691 last year.

In October 2017 the group acquired a Suzuki franchise in Belfast.

And in February it confirmed the acquisition of a third Vauxhall franchise in Eglinton.

It is also set to unveil a new £6m Jaguar Land Rover showroom later this year in Dungannon, close to its flagship site on Moy Road.

A spokesman said: "These strong relationships with our 18 manufacturing partners across our eight locations in Northern Ireland have played a significant role in our ongoing success and will be key as we look to further expansion."

Donnelly Group's wage bill increased from £16m in 2016 to £20.9m in 2017, with remuneration for its directors rising from £568,541 to £767,322.

The company's highest paid director received £129,711 in 2017, up from £94,042 in 2016. Again, the 2017 figures relate to a 14-month reporting period. The seven directors include brothers Terence and Raymond Donnelly; Geoffrey Lamont; Dean Martin; Dave Sheeran; Kevin Rogan and former Tyrone GAA star Philip Jordan. Mr Jordan is also company secretary, while its chairman is Paul Rooney. Three ex-directors stood down in the past year, including former managing director Malcolm Kerr.

A report filed on July 3 said: "The directors are satisfied with the results for the period and consider the financial position at the period-end to be satisfactory.

"The directors have plans in place to ensure the group is strongly placed to retain its market position and continued profitability. Since the period end, performance to date has been encouraging."

Belfast Telegraph

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