British School of Motoring graduates with pounds 4.6m profit

BRITISH School of Motoring, the UK's largest provider of driving tuition, passed the test it set itself when it came on to the market last November, producing a 12 per cent rise in operating profits to pounds 4.6m last year.

Pre-tax profits were pounds 1m, but would have been pounds 4.5m on a pro forma basis had the company been floated at the beginning of last year. The flotation proceeds allowed the company to pay off the large debts from a management buyout in 1990.

The pre-tax result was pounds 120,000 ahead of the company's forecast.

BSM also managed to increase its market share from 14 per cent to just over 15 per cent, although the total number of new learners declined by 2 per cent. Richard Glover, managing director, said the decline had levelled off: in 1991, numbers dropped by 12 per cent. But he added: 'The demographics are due to start going our way again from 1995 as more 17-year- olds come on stream.'

BSM's business grew 4 per cent, partly on the back of its first television advertising campaign, which was financed by Vauxhall, the motor manufacturer, as part of a deal under which BSM replaced all its cars with Vauxhall Corsas.

Paul Massey, the chief executive, said 1994 had begun well and the marketing push would continue with a cinema advertising campaign that would allow the company to more effectively reach its target market of 17 to 25-year- olds.

BSM will pay its first dividend at this year's interim results. The company said it would have paid a dividend of 5.78p had flotation been at the beginning of last year. The shares, floated at 170p, closed unchanged at 180p.