One of Ireland's largest car retailers, Joe Duffy Motor Group, more than a doubled its profits last year as car sales recovered from the recession.
Operating profit for the year ended December 31st, 2014, was €5.2 million, up from €2.55 million the previous year. This was on the back of a 48 per cent increase in turnover, rising to €168 million last year.
The group has 10 dealerships across the State, and is due to open a new Jaguar and Land Rover outlet in Airside Retail Park in north Co Dublin. The prime corner site was formerly owned by Bill Cullen, from where he operated a Renault dealership.
Kia franchise added
According to the group’s managing director,
, the new facility will open in the first half of 2016 and the total investment will be about €6 million. This year the group also added a Kia franchise to its range and it will replace Land Rover at the firm’s other Airside site, which trades as HB Dennis.
The group holds separate franchises for Audi, BMW, Mini, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mazda, Kia, Ford, Volvo, Porsche, Seat and Volkswagen, along with BMW's i range of electric cars and its motorcycles.
In November 2014 it opened its first Limerick dealership with Audi Limerick, the second Audi franchise held by the group. That same month it also purchased a facility at St Patrick's Quay in Cork, previously the PJ O'Hea Opel dealership. Mr Hydes said the company had yet to decide which franchise would operate there.
In January this year it bought VW Commons Road Cars in Co Meath, where it opened its second VW franchise.
Mr Hyde said there were no immediate plans for further acquisitions in the short term but the firm is always open to expand. He said that while the recovery in car sales had been strong “the overall Irish car park remains relatively old” and the new-car market has not yet reached its full potential. He predicted new car sales in 2016 would reach 145,000.
With Volkswagen, Audi and Seat dealerships in its portfolio many of the group’s customers are affected by the recent VW emissions scandals.
However, Mr Hydes said there had been no evident drop in sales and while it’s likely to have a short-term impact on the reputation of these brands it’s not likely to have any major affect in the medium to long term.
He said it helped that the Joe Duffy Group was diversified across multiple brands, each of which is at a different stage in its product life cycle.
According to the directors’ report, employee numbers at the group rose 51 per cent last year to 295 and Mr Hyde said this had since risen to 365, with expectations it would exceed 400 early next year.
The accounts show a dividend payment of €359,601, up from €275,001 in 2013, while directors’ remuneration was €648,476. Staff costs were €10.3 million for 2014.
The directors’ report says the firm expects turnover for 2015 to exceed €220 million and Mr Hydes predicted the firm would record its sixth consecutive year of profit growth.