HR Owen shares motoring as car sales increase more than hoped

Marion Dakers
LUXURY car dealership HR Owen expects to beat annual forecasts after its showrooms sold more new and used cars than expected.

HR Owen, majority owned by Berjaya Philippines, said yesterday the second half of 2013 had been particularly good for sales. High-end car buyers rushed to order new models from Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Ferrari.

Used car sales were up by almost a third on last year, HR Owen added.

Analysts at Edison lifted their full-year profit forecast to £3.4m, having already hiked it from £2.5m following HR Owen’s upbeat update in the autumn.

“With last year’s new model introductions available throughout 2014 and sound order books, further progress in the current year looks likely. However, with the group under new majority ownership, there could be changes in group strategy,” they said in a note to clients.

HR Owen has benefited from strong overall demand for new cars in the UK, where registrations rose 10.8 per cent to a post-recession record of 2.26m according to industry body the SMMT.

Berjaya Philippines, which is controlled by Malaysian tycoon Vincent Tan, paid 170p per share to build a majority stake in HR Owen in an offer period that ended in October.

London-listed shares in HR Owen closed up over 10 per cent.