Sales at Irish car retailer Joe Duffy Motors Group rose 9 per cent to €321 million in 2019 despite a 7 per cent decline in the Irish new car market and amid concerns over the impending impact of Brexit.
Operating profits at Ireland’s largest dealer network were €9.5 million, up 18 per cent, while profits before tax were €7.86 million, up €1 million on the previous year.
Accounts just filed by JDM Automotive show that at the end of 2019 the company had an accumulated profit of €33.7 million after recording its tenth consecutive year of profit growth.
It had stock valued at €61 million at year-end, comprising €39 million in new vehicles, €20.5 million in used vehicles, and €1.7 million in parts.
The business is controlled by Gavin Hydes, the group chief executive and its largest single shareholder.
According to Mr Hydes: "We look to the future with caution given the uncertainty of the [Covid] pandemic's medium and long-term effect on our business and the industry in general."
However, he said he remains “cautiously optimistic about the future when the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine is completed”.
The company plans to expand its used car business this year, opening a new ZuCar supermarket in Dublin. It currently has two ZuCar outlets, in Limerick and Cork.
The group holds sales franchises for 11 car brands, including Audi, BMW, Ford, Mazda, Volkswagen and Kia, along with various sub-brands, and operates from dealer facilities in Dublin, Drogheda, Navan, Athlone, Cork and Limerick.
Total staff costs came to €19.8 million, including directors’ remuneration of €972,816. Employee numbers were 469 at year-end, up by 34 on 2018.
A dividend of €1.6 million was paid to shareholders, down from €4 million the previous year.
The directors’ report says that while they expect revenues for 2020 to be impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, “to counteract this we have reviewed our costs in order to minimise the impact on profitability”.
“Management will continue to monitor and assess the ongoing developments and respond accordingly. At the onset of the pandemic the group had strong cash reserves, and continued to have good relationships with its lenders.”