Johnson & Perrott posts €3.2m loss as turnover crashes
Johnson & Perrott, the Cork-based motor group that traces its foundations back nearly 200 years and which is owned by the Whitaker family, notched up a €3.2m pre-tax loss in 2009 as turnover at the group tumbled 40pc in the year to €70.1m.
Accounts for the business show that the motoring firm, which holds franchises for marques including Volvo, Honda, Opel and Landrover and also operates 13 Avis-branded car rental offices around the country, has struggled for two straight years.
The company posted a €2m loss in 2008.
The company was hit by a double whammy of a sharp decline in new car sales before the Government introduced a new scrappage scheme, and a fall in tourist numbers that adversely impacted on its car rental business.
In Cork, the company operates a total of five car franchises and three commercial vehicle franchises. Johnson & Perrott's fleet management unit performed well for the year, according to the company.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Johnson & Perrott group chief executive Mark Whitaker, acknowledged that last year had been an extremely difficult one for the trade in general, but maintained that the introduction of the scrappage scheme had been very beneficial and provided a net gain to the Exchequer.
He also called on the Government to extend the scheme following the upcoming Budget.
He said Johnson & Perrott had no long-term borrowings and was very comfortable with its balance sheet and was in a net cash position.
The accounts show that the cash position improved by €14.7m during 2009.
Mr Whitaker also noted that the company was expected to post substantially improved financial results both this year and in 2011.
The firm exercised what was described as "rigorous cost control and working capital management" during 2009. It paid no dividends to shareholders last year.
The group employed 259 full-time equivalent staff at the end of 2009, but that number has since been reduced to about 230.
The company has no plans to scale back its presence in the car rental business.
Mr Whitaker said that while demand had fallen in line with fewer tourists, capacity in the sector fell last summer and was likely to fall further.