AA not seen material impact from Covid-19 despite office closures

Roadside assistance expert AA said that it has not yet seen a material impact from the coronavirus pandemic, even as all but one of its offices have been forced to close.

The business said the future was uncertain and it was prioritising ensuring that staff, customers and suppliers stay healthy.

“We have put in place appropriate safety protocols across the group including the implementation of an extensive programme of home working which has enabled the temporary closure of all of our offices with the exception of Oldbury, our emergency contact centre,” the company said in a statement to shareholders on Tuesday.

It added: “To date, the spread of Covid-19 has not impacted the group materially but there continue to be risks, including disruptions to our operations and, consistent with the rest of the market, there can be no certainty as to the future impact.”

The business said that it has proven resilient during past economic downturns and was taking steps to ensure that remains the case.

However, it still suspended its final dividend to shareholders amid the uncertainty, even as it revealed a big jump in profit.

Profit before tax more than doubled in the year to January 31 – before the worst impacts of coronavirus were felt in the UK – to £107 million on revenue of £995 million, a 2% increase.

The company’s roadside membership base returned to growth in the second half of the year, up 0.2% on a year earlier.

It saw a 19% growth in motor insurance policies, to 869,000 after a big marketing push, and its average income for motor and home insurance policies grew by 4% to £83.