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Auto Trader shares hit all-time high on full-throttle FY results

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Shares in Auto Trader Group PLC hit an all-time high of just over 819p this morning after the automotive publisher posted results ahead of expectations and said the used car market seems to be remaining robust, despite the return of discounting for new cars.

The FTSE 100 company reported revenue up 14% to £570.9 million, while operating profit raced 26% higher to £348.7 million and said both its marketplace and competitive position have strengthened in the past 12 months, with record numbers of buyers and sellers.

“The used car retail market has been robust throughout the financial year, which we expect to continue. Demand is resilient with cars continuing to sell faster than before the pandemic and used car supply has gradually improved,” the company added.

The new car retail market has been “more challenging and discounting has started to return”, however, but it still sees the structural changes in this market as a “significant opportunity”.

The new financial year has “started well”, it said, with “another good year” of average revenue per retailer (ARPR) growth expected across all three parts of the business.

Losses from the Autorama business are expected to reduce in the new financial year, despite tight supply conditions in the leasing channel for new vehicles continuing.

FY25 guidance is in-line with consensus expectations, “though the impact of the Digital Services Tax remains a small smudge on Auto Trader segment margin expectations.”

Nathan Coe, chief executive officer, said: “This has been another year of strong financial, operational and strategic progress for Auto Trader. More than 8 in 10 car buyers now use Auto Trader during their car buying journey and two thirds of buyers only use Auto Trader. Our data and technology continue to underpin the UK automotive industry and we are constantly innovating to help our retailers access the very best tools to achieve their business goals.

“We are confident in our prospects for the year ahead and, in the longer term, we see significant opportunities to continue growing our marketplace and to move more of the car buying process online, on Auto Trader.

“As ever, I would like to thank our people, customers and the UK’s car buyers for continuing to place their trust in us.”

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