Car retailer Inchcape in profit drive

Car dealership group Inchcape has booked a double-digit rise in profits, helped by record gains in Australasia and North Asia.

The firm – whose UK franchises include Audi, BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz – yesterday reported a 10 per cent rise in underlying pre-tax profits to a record £250.3 million.

The results for the 12 months to 31 December also revealed that total sales had risen 4.4 per cent to £6.1 billion.

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A final dividend of 10.5p has been proposed, giving a total shareholder payout of 14.5p, up 32 per cent.

Chief executive André Lacroix said: “2012 was another strong year for Inchcape with market share gains in many regions and further progress on customer service.

“The group is extremely well positioned to take advantage of the exciting growth prospects in Asia Pacific and emerging markets.”

Inchcape – named after a Scottish lighthouse – said 70 per cent of group trading profit now came from Asia Pacific and other emerging markets.