CMA awaits spin-off from new car sales: Motor companies move into higher gear as rising sales make it easier to expand

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The Independent Online
CENTRAL Motor Auctions is waiting for the dramatic pick-up in new car sales to feed through into its business of selling second-hand cars by auction, writes John Murray.

The group nudged profits marginally higher to pounds 863,000 before tax in the year to 31 October, but its shares fell 12p to 116p as it reported lower sales volumes.

Auction proceeds fell from pounds 315m to pounds 294m, but tight cost control pushed operating profits ahead 21 per cent to pounds 1.2m. Earnings per share fell from 5.46p to 4.52p because of a doubled tax charge. The dividend is maintained at 4p.

Brian Carter, joint managing director, said auctions historically lagged behind the recovery in new car sales by up to two years. But George Inch, the chief executive appointed eight weeks ago, said he would focus on increasing turnover.

He is seeking a sales director and said he would look at ways of providing added-value management services by using the group's access to information on car values.

Mr Inch has already moved to restructure the board after the death of Eric Myers, the chairman, last month. Steve Kendall, the other joint managing director, has left as a result.

CMA has won the government contract to sell personalised number plates by auction for a further three years.