The group made a pre-tax profit of pounds 7.97m in 1997, a 198-per-cent increase on the pounds 2.67m it made in the previous year. Underlying profits, excluding an exceptional pounds 1.37m profit on the disposal of a freehold property, grew 147 per cent to pounds 6.6m.
Frank Sytner, the chairman, said trading had started well so far this year, adding: "Results are currently ahead of our internal budgets and the prospects for the remainder of the year continue to be encouraging. We remain committed to growth in partnership with great marques and to delivering value to our shareholders."
"We will continue to grow our business by acquisition but only when we can do this prudently and when our stringent investment criteria can be met....
We remain committed to growth in partnership with great marques and to delivering value to our shareholders."