THE Midas touch which made Sir Tom Farmer one of Scotland’s richest men has seen his latest venture turn its first annual million-pound profit.
Farmer Autocare, which was launched with four branches 12 years ago and now operates 18 tyre and exhaust fitting centres across central Scotland, saw profits jump by 29 per cent to £1.09 million in the year to 31 July.
The performance came in the first full financial year of the Edinburgh-based company being run by Ron Hewitt, the former chief executive of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce. Sales rose by 8.5 per cent to £12.3m and staff numbers increased to 138 from 130. The company said the improvement in profit had been down to efforts to reduce overhead costs.
Hewitt was taken on by Farmer in January 2012 with a mission to consolidate and expand the business. He had previously worked for the entrepreneur as managing director of Kwik-Fit Insurance, as well as in the retail tyre business and for the RAC.
According to latest accounts filed at Companies House, the highest paid director at Farmer Autocare, presumed to be Hewitt, received £109,099 last year, up from £105,775 the previous year.
Many of the Farmer Autocare outlets are run on a co-ownership basis, where the local operator is in charge of the day-to-day business while the wages, administration and accounts are dealt with centrally.
Farmer started his first business, Tyres & Accessories Supplies, in Edinburgh in 1964 and sold it in 1968 before founding Kwik-Fit in 1971 and building it into one of the world’s largest car servicing companies. He sold it to Ford in 1999 for around £1.2 billion.