Inchcape posts lower full-year profit as auto market cools

Inchcape posts lower full-year profit as auto market cools
By Reuters

(Reuters) – Car dealership chain Inchcape Plc reported a 2.6 percent decline in full-year pretax profit on Thursday, as Britain’s auto market cooled and sales were hit by stricter emissions rules.

Inchcape also warned that any impact to trading from Britain’s impending exit from the European Union would be a risk to its retail business performance.

Automakers and other manufacturers have pointed out that the toll of a no-deal Brexit could cause higher tariffs, disrupt supply chains and threaten jobs.

The company, which trades in over two dozen countries, said pretax profit on a constant currency basis fell to 356.8 million pounds for the year ended Dec. 31, compared to 381.6 million pounds reported a year earlier.

British car production fell by 9 percent last year, the biggest drop since the 2008-9 recession, and investment slumped by nearly half because of fears about Brexit.

The company said margins in its retail channel came under pressure due to a market supply and demand imbalance in the UK, new regulation and a slowing Australia market.

Global distribution revenue rose 6.6 percent to 4.99 billion pounds, while retail revenue increased 5 percent to 4.29 billion pounds.

(Reporting by Samantha Machado and Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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