Vertu stays on target to hit £700m sales

THE motor company founded by former Reg Vardy executives is on target to see annual sales soar to £700m by 2009 after recording impressive interim results.

THE motor company founded by former Reg Vardy executives is on target to see annual sales soar to £700m by 2009 after recording impressive interim results.

Newcastle-based Vertu, which has grown from zero to the 10th largest car dealer in the UK, yesterday announced sales of £290m in the period from its inception in November 2006 to the end of August 2007.

However, the firm, which now has 47 showrooms across the country, expects to see annual revenue jump to £700m, with pre-tax profits climbing to £5.9m within two years once its many acquisitions bear fruit.

Meanwhile the firm is in “advanced negotiations” to set up two used car supermarkets somewhere in the North of England. Chief executive Robert Forrester, a former managing director of Reg Vardy, said he was pleased with the progress of the company so far.

He said: “I think, if you cast back to December last year, our progress has been quicker than expected and if you had said to me then that we would have 47 dealerships then I would have been happy.

“We envisaged that performance improvement opportunities would arise in acquired dealerships from increasing sales in new and used cars and after-sales services through improving efficiency of the business processes and providing exceptional customer service.”

Mr Forrester also said the company could add 15 jobs to the 300 people it employs in the North-East in the next 12 months as part restructuring within the company. The firm, which currently employs around 2,200 people across the UK, has spent £52m on acquisitions since its launch last year.

In its first year of operation, as well as opening a contact centre in Sunderland, it has completed a reverse takeover of Bristol Street Motors for £40m, and acquired Blake Group, Grantham Motors and a Jennings Ford dealership in Morpeth.

The company now runs its rapidly growing portfolio from its headquarters in Rotterdam House on Newcastle’s Quayside.

Mr Forrester created Vertu with former Reg Vardy non-executive director Bill Teasdale before the sale of the Sunderland company to Pendragon last year.

The business floated on AIM in December 2006, advised by law firm Robert Muckle, and commenced trading on March 27, 2007.

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