Auto Trader’s stock price rose almost 10% in early morning trading to 679.60p after the company achieved its highest ever six-monthly revenue and profits.
The digital UK-based car sales specialist reported revenue of £215.4m – this was up 82% on the first-half 2021 figure of £118.2m, and up 15% on the first-half 2020 figure of £186.7m.
Operating profit of £151.7m was up 121% on the first half of 2021 (£68.5m) and up 15% on the first-half 2020 figure of £131.4m.
Operating profit margin increased to 70%, up from 58% in the first half of 2021, and was consistent with the first half of 2020.
The company revealed basic earnings per share of 12.63p, which were up 126% on the half year 2021 (5.58p) and up 13% on the first half of 2020 (11.13p).
Auto Trader said that £148.4m was returned to shareholders through £100.4m of share buybacks and dividends paid of £48m – this compared with a nil return to shareholders in the first half of 2021.
The company declared an interim dividend of 2.7p. There was no interim dividend declared in the previous year.
Commenting on the latest results, Auto Trader CEO Nathan Coe said: “Early in the pandemic we acted decisively to protect our people, customers and business. As a result of these actions, we have emerged as a stronger business which can be seen in our results for the first half of this financial year.”
He added: “The number of people using Auto Trader to buy their next car is at record levels, more retailers are choosing to partner with us, and our competitive position has strengthened.
“This positions us well as we look to partner with retailers to bring more of the car buying journey online, which we believe will provide significant long-term growth opportunities.”
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