The Auto Trader Group Board has decided to reinstate its capital allocation policy and proposes a final dividend of 5.0 pence per share (2020: no final dividend declared), which is also the total dividend for the full year (2020: 2.4 pence per share). Their capital policy remains broadly unchanged: to continue to invest in the business enabling it to grow while paying around one third of net income to shareholders in the form of dividends. They aim to return the remaining surplus cash to shareholders through share buy backs, which will recommence shortly.
Other financial hiighlights include:
- Revenue down 29% to £262.8 million (2020: £368.9 million). Trade revenue down 31% to £225.2 million (2020: £324.3 million), as a result of the decision to provide free advertising to their retailer customers in April, May, December and February and at a discounted rate in June.
- Operating profit down 38% to £161.2 million (2020: £258.9 million) with Operating profit margin decreasing to 61% (2020: 70%). Costs reduced by 8% to £104.0 million (2020: £113.2 million).
- Profit before tax down 37% to £157.4 million (2020: £251.5 million).
- Basic EPS down 40% to 13.24p per share (2020: 22.19p).
- Cash generated from operations down 42% to £152.9 million (2020: £265.5 million).
- Following the share placement and subsequent trading results we had a net cash position of £15.7 million at year end (March 2020: Net bank debt of £275.4 million and leverage of 1.0x).