Auto Trader profits drive ahead by 19%

Classified cars website Auto Trader saw profits accelerate last year as it continues to dominate the sector.

The firm said full year operating profit revved up by 19% to £171.3 million as increased advertising revenue boosted sales.

Auto Trader, which floated on the London Stock Exchange last year, said turnover was up from £255.9 million to £281.6 million.

Chief executive Trevor Mather said: "We are delighted with the progress that the group has made in its first full year as a public company.

"The new financial year has started well, and the board is confident of delivering continuous improvement in both our consumer and retailer solutions, as well as our overall performance in the coming year."

Debt, which under previous owner Apax dragged on the firm, was down £135.3 million to £392.6 million.

David Reynolds, equity analyst at Jefferies, said: "In theory, a useful data point for Auto Trader, recent SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) data remains positive with record cumulative levels of new car registrations, though growth rates easing from 2015.

"In conclusion: solid, quietly impressive print from Auto Trader, bodes well for 2017."

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