Latest Automotive Holdings Group News
Feb 24, 2021
Share Pretax profit ($m) 280.1 v -63.3 Net profit ($m) 156.2 v -139.6 Final dividend 25c v 11.25c, payable on April 20 A defiant chief executive of Australia’s biggest car retailing group, Eagers Automotive, says the company won’t be repaying any of the $130 million it received under JobKeeper because it was used to save 2000 jobs which is the original intention of the scheme. Martin Ward, who announced on Wednesday he would be stepping down after 16 years running the company, said the JobKeeper payments went to 6500 employees during the dark times when the industry was under severe pressure. “We believe it was used for the right intentions,” he said. “It was used exactly as it was intended to be by the government.” Mr Ward said Eagers Automotive was grateful for the payments, but it also had to consider all of its stakeholders, including shareholders when making decisions. Martin Ward will exit after 16 years running Australia’s biggest car dealership group, Eagers Automotive. Atilla Csazar Related Quotes Advertisement Eagers Automotive had a strong rebound in the last two months of calendar 2020 as demand rebounded from car buyers with the company swinging to a $156 million net profit from the year-earlier $140 million bottom-line loss. The company will pay a final dividend of 25¢ per share on April 20, compared with a final dividend of 11.25¢ per share a year earlier. Among the shareholders is Rich Lister Nick Politis, who is also the chairman of the Sydney Roosters in the National Rugby League competition. He holds 27 per cent of Eagers Automotive, which runs more than 200 showrooms and has 11 per cent of the new car market in Australia. Eagers Automotive also received about $4 million in wage subsidies for the year from the New Zealand government for its NZ operations. Mr Ward, who will be succeeded by chief operating officer Keith Thornton, said the group had booked an $80 million impairment relating to the scrapping of the Holden brand by US giant General Motors. “It was horrible,” Mr Ward said. Eagers Automotive on January 27 announced its second profit upgrade in six weeks after a strong rebound in new vehicle sales which began accelerating in November. It sells most of the leading brands including Toyota, Ford, Mazda, Hyundai and Volkswagen. Eagers Automotive shares plunged to $2.50 in late March at the beginning of the pandemic in Australia when fears of an economic meltdown gripped the market. The stock lost 9 per cent on Wednesday to slide back towards $12 after hitting $14.94 in early February. Eagers Automotive bought out rival Automotive Holdings Group in a $2 billion deal in 2019 and took the keys of that business on October 1 that year.