Trade Now

Capital at risk Advertisement
Share Name Share Symbol Market Type Share ISIN Share Description
Auto Trader Group Plc LSE:AUTO London Ordinary Share GB00BVYVFW23 ORD 1P
  Price Change % Change Share Price Bid Price Offer Price High Price Low Price Open Price Shares Traded Last Trade
  -20.20 -3.73% 520.80 520.60 521.20 535.00 519.60 535.00 329,619 08:58:55
Industry Sector Turnover (m) Profit (m) EPS - Basic PE Ratio Market Cap (m)
Media 432.7 301.0 25.6 20.3 4,907

Auto Trader Group plc FULL YEAR RESULTS FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 MARCH 2022

26/05/2022 7:00am

UK Regulatory (RNS & others)


Auto Trader (LSE:AUTO)
Historical Stock Chart


From Mar 2022 to Sep 2022

Click Here for more Auto Trader Charts.

TIDMAUTO

RNS Number : 8393M

Auto Trader Group plc

26 May 2022

Embargoed until 7.00am, 26 May 2022

AUTO TRADER GROUP PLC

FULL YEAR RESULTS FOR THE YEARED 31 MARCH 2022

Auto Trader Group plc ('Auto Trader', 'the Group'), the UK's largest digital automotive marketplace, announces full year results for the year ended 31 March 2022

Strategic overview

- Our financial performance, customer numbers, consumer engagement and product uptake are at record levels. Throughout the year we have also further strengthened our competitive position. Paid stock was up year-on-year for the first time in four years, despite the challenging market conditions.

- We successfully executed our annual pricing event in April 2021, including the launch of Retailer Stores, which provide retailers their own dedicated, customisable location on Auto Trader.

- We saw strong levels of product uptake which was partly driven by upsell to our new higher-level advertising packages, which now give a consistent cross-platform search experience and our newly launched Market Extension product, which allows our retailers to reach car buyers outside their local area.

- We launched Auto Trader Connect as part of our April 2022 pricing event, which has gone well. This gives customers access to our most fundamental and powerful data, including our taxonomy, which improves advert quality, pricing decisions and enables stock to be updated on Auto Trader in real-time.

- We continue to focus on supporting an increasingly online car buying journey and have made good progress in developing both the component parts which will form our end-to-end deal builder journey and scaling some of the key enablers to support digital retailing. There has been no erosion in Operating profit margin as we continue to invest in future revenue streams.

- In March 2022, we announced that we have agreed to acquire all the share capital of Autorama (UK) Limited, subject to regulatory approvals. Autorama's online marketplace and fulfilment capabilities will transform Auto Trader's existing leasing proposition helping meet the demands of the growing number of consumers who might consider leasing their next new vehicle.

Financial results

- Revenue up 65% to GBP432.7 million (2021: GBP262.8 million), and up 17% on 2020 (GBP368.9 million). Trade revenue up 72% to GBP388.3 million (2021: GBP225.2 million) and up 20% on 2020 (GBP324.3 million). Revenue in the prior year was impacted by our decision to provide free advertising to retailer customers in April 2020, May 2020, December 2020 and February 2021, as well as at a discounted rate in June 2020.

- Operating profit up 88% to GBP303.6 million (2021: GBP161.2 million) and up 17% on 2020 (GBP258.9 million). Operating profit margin increased to 70% (2021: 61%), consistent with 2020 levels. Costs increased by 27% to GBP132.0 million (2021: GBP104.0 million).

- Profit before tax up 91% to GBP301.0 million (2021: GBP157.4 million) and up 20% on 2020 (GBP251.5 million).

   -      Basic EPS up 93% to 25.61p per share (2021: 13.24p) and up 15% on 2020 (22.19p). 

- Cash generated from operations(1) up 115% to GBP328.1 million (2021: GBP152.9 million), and up 24% on 2020 (GBP265.5 million).

- GBP237.1 million returned to shareholders (2021: Nil) through GBP163.5 million of share buybacks and dividends paid of GBP73.6 million.

- Proposed final dividend of 5.5 pence per share (2021: 5.0 pence per share) giving total dividends of 8.2 pence per share for the year (2021: 5.0 pence per share).

Operational results

   -      Cross platform visits(3,4) up 9% to 63.8 million per month on average (2021: 58.3 million). 

- Cross platform minutes(3,4) up 5% to 588.1 million per month on average (2021: 561.1 million). Our share of cross platform minutes(3,5) remains strong at over 75% (2021: over 75%) and we grew to be 8x larger than our nearest competitor (2021: 7x).

- The average number of retailer forecourts(3) in the period was up 5% to 13,964 (2021: 13,336), due to both our strong position and favourable market conditions.

- Average Revenue Per Retailer(3) (ARPR) per month was up GBP886 to GBP2,210 on average per month (2021: GBP1,324). Excluding COVID-19 discounts in the prior year, underlying ARPR increased by GBP247 per month, with growth from all three ARPR levers.

- Physical car stock(3,6) on site was down 11% to 430,000 (2021: 485,000) on average, of which our listings product for new cars declined to 29,000 on average (2021: 47,000).

   -      Number of employees (FTEs(3) ) increased to 960 on average during the period (2021: 909). 

Cultural KPIs

   -      Employees that are proud to work at Auto Trader(7) remained high at 95% (March 2021: 93%). 

- Diverse teams and an inclusive culture are critical to attracting, identifying and maximising the potential of our people and therefore our business:

o Board: We now have a greater percentage of women than men on our Board (March 2021: 50:50), following the appointment of Jasvinder Gakhal as an Independent Non-Executive Director to the Board, with effect from 1 January 2022.

o Leadership: The percentage of women leaders(8) was 38% (March 2021: 34%), and those who are ethnically diverse (9) was 6% (March 2021: 6%).

o Organisation: The percentage of employees who are women was 40%(10) (March 2021: 39%), and those who are ethnically diverse (9,10) was 14% (March 2021: 11%).

- In June 2021, we signed up to the Science Based Target initiative Business Ambition for 1.5degC, which committed us to achieving net zero before 2050. We are aiming to achieve net zero across our entire value chain (Scopes 1, 2 and 3) before 2040, having halved our carbon emissions before the end of 2030. The total amount of our CO(2) emissions increased in the year by 16% to 11.7k tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent(11) versus our benchmark of 2020 (10.1k tonnes), which was due to an increase in our cost base and higher capital expenditure. During the year we offset these emissions across all scopes using an accredited scheme and were therefore carbon neutral . This year, for the first time the reduction in emissions will form part of our remuneration policy.

Nathan Coe, Chief Executive Officer of Auto Trader Group plc, said:

"This year marks the best financial and operational performance in our history, which is credit to our people and the partnerships we have with our customers.

"We are well placed to continue growing our core business while establishing the products that retailers will need to shift more of the car buying journey online, on Auto Trader.

"Despite the current high levels of economic uncertainty and industry change, we enter the year with good reason for both confidence and optimism."

Outlook

The new financial year has started well. In April this year, we successfully executed our annual pricing event which included the launch of our Auto Trader Connect product.

We are anticipating another good year of ARPR growth, underpinned by our product lever. We expect growth in the product lever to be greater than 2021, but less than the exceptional performance achieved in 2022. We expect the price lever to be broadly consistent with last year, and the stock lever to be flat. We anticipate average retailer forecourts to be marginally down year-on-year, as market conditions start to toughen.

Consumer Services is expected to increase at a rate of low-mid single digits year-on-year, while Manufacturer and Agency remains unclear due to well documented supply chain issues. These two areas only represent c.10% of total Group revenue.

Despite pressure on costs, we anticipate Operating profit margins to be consistent year-on-year at 70%.

This outlook does not include the acquisition of Autorama, which will be provided upon completion. The completion date is not yet known as not all regulatory approvals have been received.

Despite growing economic uncertainty, the Board is confident of meeting its growth expectations for the year.

Analyst presentation

A presentation for analysts will be held via audio webcast and conference call at 9.30am, Thursday 26 May 2022. Details below.

Audio webcast: https://edge.media-server.com/mmc/p/2i7eqkti

Conference call details :

 
Location                  Purpose       Phone Type             Number 
United Kingdom, London    Participant   Local                  +44 (0) 2071 928338 
                          ============  =====================  =================== 
United Kingdom            Participant   Tollfree / Freephone   08002796619 
                          ============  =====================  =================== 
United States, New York   Participant   Local                  16467413167 
                          ============  =====================  =================== 
United States             Participant   Tollfree / Freephone   18778709135 
                          ============  =====================  =================== 
 

Passcode: 8375612

Please note: Questions will only be taken from in the room at Bank of America. Participants on the conference call who plan on following the slides via the webcast should switch the webcast to phone mode using the cogwheel icon located on the bottom right corner of the webcast screen to ensure the slides are synced to the phone audio rather than the webcast audio.

If you have any trouble registering or accessing either the conference call or webcast, please contact Powerscourt on the details below.

For media enquiries

Please contact the team at Powerscourt on +44 (0) 20 7324 0490 or email autotrader@powerscourt-group.com

About Auto Trader

Auto Trader Group plc is the UK and Ireland's largest automotive marketplace. Our marketplace sits at the heart of the vehicle buying process, with the largest number of car buyers and the largest choice of trusted stock. Auto Trader exists to grow both its car buying audience and core advertising business. It will change how the UK shops for cars by providing the best online car buying experience, enabling all retailers to sell online. We aim to build stronger partnerships with our customers, use our voice and influence to drive more environmentally friendly vehicle choices and create an inclusive and diverse culture. Auto Trader listed on the London Stock Exchange in March 2015 and is now a member of the FTSE 100 Index.

For more information, please visit https://plc.autotrader.co.uk/who-we-are/about-us/

Cautionary statement

Certain statements in this announcement constitute forward looking statements (including beliefs or opinions). "Forward looking statements" are sometimes identified by the use of forward-looking terminology, including the terms "believes", "estimates", "aims" "anticipates", "expects", "intends", "plans", "predicts", "may", "will", "could", "shall", "risk", "targets", "forecasts", "should", "guidance", "continues", "assumes" or "positioned" or, in each case, their negative or other variations or comparable terminology. Any statement in this announcement that is not a statement of historical fact including, without limitation, those regarding the Company's future expectations, operations, financial performance, financial condition and business is a forward looking statement. Such forward looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties, because they relate to events that may or may not occur in the future, that may cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, among other factors, changing economic, financial, business or other market conditions. These and other factors could adversely affect the outcome and financial effects of the plans and events described in this results announcement. As a result, you are cautioned not to place reliance on such forward looking statements, which are not guarantees of future performance and the actual results of operations, financial condition and liquidity, and the development of the industry in which the Group operates, may differ materially from those made in or suggested by the forward looking statements set out in this announcement. Except as is required by applicable laws and regulatory obligations, no undertaking is given to update the forward looking statements contained in this announcement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Nothing in this announcement should be construed as a profit forecast. This announcement has been prepared for the Company's group as a whole and, therefore, gives greater emphasis to those matters which are significant to the Company and its subsidiary undertakings when viewed as a whole.

To the extent available, the industry and market data contained in this announcement has come from third party sources. Third party industry publications, studies and surveys generally state that the data contained therein have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but that there is no guarantee of the accuracy or completeness of such data. In addition, certain industry and market data contained in this announcement come from the Company's own internal research and estimates based on the knowledge and experience of the Company's management in the market in which the Company operates. While the Company believes that such research and estimates are reasonable and reliable, they, and their underlying methodology and assumptions, have not been verified by any independent source for accuracy or completeness and are subject to change without notice. Accordingly, undue reliance should not be placed on any of the industry or market data contained in this announcement.

Summary financial performance

 
 
                       Units                           2022      2021     Change 
 ------------------------------------------------  --------  --------  --------- 
 Income statement 
-------------------------------------------------  --------  --------  --------- 
 Trade                                   GBPm         388.3     225.2        72% 
 Consumer Services                       GBPm          33.3      26.6        25% 
 Manufacturer and Agency                 GBPm          11.1      11.0         1% 
-----------------------------------  ------------  --------  --------  --------- 
 Revenue                                 GBPm         432.7     262.8        65% 
-----------------------------------  ------------  --------  --------  --------- 
 Operating profit                        GBPm         303.6     161.2        88% 
-----------------------------------  ------------  --------  --------  --------- 
 Operating profit margin                   %            70%       61%     9% pts 
-----------------------------------  ------------  --------  --------  --------- 
 Profit before tax                       GBPm         301.0     157.4        91% 
-----------------------------------  ------------  --------  --------  --------- 
 Basic earnings per share                Pence        25.61     13.24        93% 
-----------------------------------  ------------  --------  --------  --------- 
 Dividend per share                      Pence          8.2       5.0        64% 
-----------------------------------  ------------  --------  --------  --------- 
 
 Cash flow 
-------------------------------------------------  --------  --------  --------- 
 Cash generated from operations(1)       GBPm         328.1     152.9       115% 
-----------------------------------  ------------  --------  --------  --------- 
 Net bank debt/(cash) at 
  March(2)                               GBPm        (51.3)    (15.7) 
-----------------------------------  ------------  --------  --------  --------- 
 
 Selected key performance 
  indicators 
-------------------------------------------------  --------  --------  --------- 
                                        GBP per 
 Average Revenue Per Retailer(3)         month        2,210     1,324        67% 
-----------------------------------  ------------  --------  --------  --------- 
 Physical car stock on site(3,6)        Number      430,000   485,000      (11%) 
-----------------------------------  ------------  --------  --------  --------- 
 Retailer forecourts(3)                 Number       13,964    13,336         5% 
-----------------------------------  ------------  --------  --------  --------- 
                                        million 
 Cross platform visits(,3,4)           per month       63.8      58.3         9% 
-----------------------------------  ------------  --------  --------  --------- 
                                        million 
 Cross platform minutes(3,4)           per month      588.1     561.1         5% 
-----------------------------------  ------------  --------  --------  --------- 
 Full-time equivalent employees 
  (including contractors)(3)            Number          960       909         6% 
-----------------------------------  ------------  --------  --------  --------- 
 

1. Cash generated from operations is defined as net cash generated from operating activities, before corporation tax paid.

2. Net bank debt is Net debt before amortised debt fees and excluding accrued interest and amounts owed under lease arrangements.

   3.   Average during the year. 
   4.   Measured by Google analytics. 

5. Share of minutes is a custom metric based on Comscore minutes and is calculated by dividing Auto Trader's total minutes volume by the entire custom-defined competitive set's total minutes volume. The custom-defined list includes: Auto Trader, Gumtree motors, Pistonheads, Motors.co.uk, eBay Motors & CarGurus.

   6.   Physical car stock advertised on autotrader.co.uk. 

7. Based on a survey to all Auto Trader employees in April 2022 asking our people to rate the statement "I am proud to work for Auto Trader?". Answers are given on a five-point scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree.

8. We define leaders as those who are on our Operational Leadership Team ('OLT'), three divisional leaders and their direct reports.

9. Throughout 2022 we have asked our employees to voluntarily disclose their ethnicity, at year end we had 124 employees (12%) who had not yet disclosed.

10. We calculate all our diversity percentages using total group headcount (March 2022: 1,002, March 2021: 953) as at 31 March.

11. The total amount of CO(2) emissions includes Scope 1, 2 and 3. From the 15 different emission categories that fall within Scope 3, the following have been identified as relevant to Auto Trader: Purchased goods and services (an Environmentally Extended Input Output (EEIO) database methodology was used to calculate the GHG footprint across total spend for the financial year); Capital goods; Fuel and energy related activities (not included in Scope 1 and Scope 2); Waste generated in operations; Business travel; Employee commuting and Investments.

Summary of FY22 operating performance

Supported by a strong car market and seeing a meaningful increase in the amount of time car buyers have spent online, Auto Trader has had a strong year. Revenue grew by 65% to GBP432.7 million (2021: GBP262.8 million). The abnormally high rate of growth principally reflects the COVID-related discounts we gave to our retailer customers throughout the pandemic. A better comparison is that of two years ago, against which revenue grew by 17% (2020: GBP368.9 million), with a greater number of customers using Auto Trader and choosing to spend more on our platform. Operating profit grew 88% to GBP303.6 million (2021: GBP161.2 million), again with a better comparison being 2020 where growth was also 17% (2020: GBP258.9 million). Operating profit margin grew to 70% (2021: 61%) and was consistent with the level achieved in 2020.

Our audience performance has strengthened with average monthly cross platform visits increasing by 9% to 63.8 million per month (2021: 58.3 million). Engagement, which we measure by total minutes spent on site, was also strong with an increase of 5% to an average of 588 million minutes per month (2021: 561 million minutes). We have maintained our position as the UK's largest and most engaged automotive marketplace for new and used cars, with over 75% of all minutes spent on automotive classified sites spent on Auto Trader (2021: over 75%) and grew to be 8x larger than our nearest competitor (2021: 7x).

Demand for both new and used cars has been particularly strong for much of this last financial year. This demand has been fuelled by a catch up in transactions that didn't happen in 2020 due to COVID-related lockdowns, increased consumer interest in car ownership and good levels of consumer confidence. New car registrations, whilst seeing year-on-year growth of 4% versus 2021, were still 22% below 2020 levels, with the well documented new car supply constraints due to semi-conductor shortages. These trends fed through to live stock on site, which decreased by 11% to an average of 430,000 cars (2021: 485,000). Part of this decline was due to a fall in the volume of new car stock, which averaged 29,000 (2021: 47,000) for the year. These constraints also impacted used cars, particularly for our larger customers, as lower new car sales have meant fewer part-exchanges and a lower volume of cars sent to auction from wholesalers, with overall transactions being 2% lower than 2020, although were up 15% on 2021. The year-on- year decline in live used stock was also partly impacted by a stock offer in the previous year, where customers could advertise more than their contracted amounts without charge, which was not repeated this year.

High levels of demand combined with constrained supply have led to significant levels of used car price growth, with our used car price index seeing a 22% year-on-year increase in prices across the period. This contributed to very good trading conditions for our customers, with some of them achieving record profit levels.

The average number of retailer forecourts advertising on our platform increased by 5% to 13,964 (2021: 13,336). The increase in the number of forecourts was due to lower levels of cancellation, partly due to favourable market conditions but also driven by the current strength of our position and standing with customers. Levels of new customer acquisition were largely consistent with the prior year.

Strategic developments

We strive to be the best place to find, buy and sell a car in the UK on a platform that enables data-driven digital retailing for our customers. We think about our strategy in terms of four strategic pillars: our core marketplace, digital retailing, our data platform, all of which sit alongside our make a difference strategy. We have made good progress across all areas throughout the year.

Our core marketplace

In April 2021, we successfully executed our annual pricing event including the launch of Retailer Stores, which offers retailers their own dedicated, customisable location on Auto Trader. This allows retailers to bring their brand to life, driving consumer confidence and standing out to buyers. As we build our digital retailing capabilities, we envisage these pages becoming an area that customers can use as part of their own e-commerce journey.

At the start of the year, we also evolved our advertising package structure and changed the sort order for listings. We have now created a consistent cross platform experience with adverts appearing in search based on a relevancy algorithm. As part of this change, we have discontinued our Basic package, introduced a higher level and re-branded our top three levels to Enhanced, Super and Ultra. We have increased the penetration of these higher yielding packages with 31% of retailer stock on a package above Standard in March 2022 (March 2021: 26%). Whilst the supply and demand dynamics during the past six months have not created the best environment for upselling, we have nonetheless seen customers continue to invest further in our suite of prominence products.

The number of customers paying for our new car product has been robust despite the challenges of sourcing stock due to the shortage of semi-conductors. We ended the year with over 1,800 retailers (2021: over 2,000) paying to advertise new cars on our site.

Digital retailing - bringing more of the car buying journey online

With car buyers continuing to do more online, our focus is to build an end-to-end deal builder journey on Auto Trader, which leverages the three individual components of guaranteed part-exchange, reservations and finance applications, all of which have been trialled individually. Whilst we believe that the physical showroom will continue to play a role in the car buying process for a number of years, there are several components which can be brought online which will drive sales and efficiencies for our retailer customers, provide a better consumer experience, and provide significant long-term growth opportunities for our business.

Having last year acquired AutoConvert, a finance, insurance and compliance platform, we have recently launched a small trial enabling the application and approval of a finance proposal on Auto Trader. This product is expected to drive greater transparency for buyers, with an upfront understanding of their finance options, including a soft-check and full application journey which will drive efficiencies on the forecourt. The trial is working with a couple of lenders and if the buyer is not eligible for the retailer's first choice of lender, the journey presents an alternative lender via a broker, Carmoney. While enabling each retailer to use their choice of lender dramatically increases the complexity of the product and onboarding, we believe it will ultimately result in much greater take-up and engagement from our customers, thereby giving us the best chance of seamlessly bridging the offline and online experiences.

We have also continued to evolve our trial for vehicle reservations during the year, with the introduction of Auto Trader's Seller Promise, which is currently offered by a subset of trial customers. Seller Promise is designed to give buyers greater peace of mind when completing more of the buying journey online and includes certain features offered by the retailer, such as warranties, a 14-day moneyback guarantee and 12-month minimum MOT and service. In the year we have seen over 400 reservations convert into a successful transaction, which give us good levels of confidence as we evolve the proposition to be incorporated into our full deal builder journey.

As referenced in our half year results, we have improved our offering for consumers who want to conveniently sell their car for cash through our Instant Offer product, which uses the same consumer journey as our Guaranteed Part-Exchange ('GPX') product, and is the final component in our deal builder journey. These products enable consumers to get an accurate and guaranteed price for their existing vehicle whilst shopping on Auto Trader, eliminating either the need to haggle over a part-exchange or look for other disposal routes for their current vehicle. Over the past 12 months, we have provided c.1.2 million guaranteed valuations and purchased over 10,000 vehicles on Instant Offer, through our partner Cox Automotive.

During the year we launched a new product, Market Extension, that allows customers to sell vehicles outside their local area. This digital retailing product enables customers to sell beyond the physical constraints of their forecourt. Initial uptake has been strong with over 6% of retailer stock on this product at year end, with the product being most relevant for those customers with either delivery capability or multiple forecourt locations. We are also continuing to evolve our logistics marketplace to support an increasing volume of vehicle moves direct to consumers. Over the year, our platform facilitated c.122,000 (2021: c.98,000) moves of which c.15% were delivered directly to the consumer.

In March 2022, we announced that we have agreed to acquire all of the share capital of Autorama (UK) Limited, subject to regulatory approvals. Autorama's online marketplace and fulfilment capabilities will transform Auto Trader's existing leasing proposition and help meet the demands of the growing number of consumers who might consider leasing their next new vehicle, while providing an efficient and professional channel to market for manufacturers and leasing companies. In time, Autorama will be able to leverage Auto Trader's brand to accelerate its recent expansion, beyond light commercial vehicles, into new cars. There is a significant structural opportunity for a new car leasing marketplace driven by the growth of electric cars, new manufacturers entering the UK market, lower take up of company car schemes and a shift towards new digital distribution models. Leasing provides consumers with a cost-effective way to access a new car with a model that is consistent with any future move towards usership.

Auto Trader as a data platform

Since the acquisition of Kee Resources in 2019, where we took ownership of our underlying vehicle taxonomy, we have been looking to both increase the volume of data bought and used by our retailer customers but also to extend the use of our data to other customer sets. From a retailer perspective we have launched a sales insight tool, increased the volume of paying retail check and retail accelerator customers, and offered direct integration via APIs. We have entered into data sharing agreements with a number of OEMs, which has improved the quality of our data sets, and we now power Experian's iCache product which provides insurance companies with enriched data to provide more accurate consumer quotes. The integration of a new data partner is often a long process, but we are making meaningful progress in providing the industry's leading data platform.

The next big milestone in this journey was the launch of Auto Trader Connect which was included in retailer packages in April 2022, alongside our annual pricing event. Auto Trader Connect gives customers access to our taxonomy, which improves advert quality and introduces real-time updates between our systems and those of our customers. This removes the inefficiencies of daily data feeds and we currently have integration with c.40% of third-party software providers with Auto Trader Connect. We see this product as a key enabler to support digital retailing.

We have made substantial progress during the year in migrating our platform and technology infrastructure to the cloud. This has enabled us to take advantage of improved performance, enhanced security and delivered a quicker product release cycle. We expect to have migrated all of our services to the cloud by the end of the current financial year. We saw an increase in the number of product releases to 46,000 (2021: 41,000).

Make a difference

Within our overall strategy we aim to 'make a difference' to our people, our communities, our industry, and to the wider environment, whilst holding ourselves to the highest standards when it comes to acting responsibly. We have a Corporate Responsibility Committee with oversight for Auto Trader's focus on the environmental, social and governance aspects of our business. Over the past 18 months we have identified focus areas around which we have created initiatives. These are monitored regularly and reported on using our cultural KPIs. While many of these changes take time, we are committed to making meaningful progress across all measures.

We will continue to improve the levels of diversity and inclusion within our organisation as we believe this improves individual and team performance and will allow us to identify and attract talent that we may not otherwise access. We are making progress, but there remains room for improvement. Our Board has marginally more women than men and as of the start of this calendar year we meet the recommendations of the Parker Review. At year end, women represented 40% of our organisation (March 2021: 39%) and in leadership roles, as defined by FTSE Women Leaders, there was meaningful improvement to 38% (March 2021: 34%). We are committed to increasing the percentage of ethnically diverse employees, who currently represent 14% of the organisation (March 2021: 11%), with 12% of employees not disclosing their ethnicity. The percentage of ethnically diverse employees in leadership, again using the FTSE Women Leaders definition, remained at 6% (March 2021: 6%), highlighting the work we still have to do in this area. Much of our work around creating an inclusive culture and environment has been driven, supported and informed by our many employee networks and guilds representing women, BAME, LGBT+, disability & neurodiversity, families and age.

The UK Government has a target to become net zero by 2050 and Auto Trader has a role to play in reaching this goal. There are two strands to our commitments around the environment which includes achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2040 and supporting consumers in making more sustainable vehicle choices.

We have signed up to the Science Based Target initiative and are committed to delivering a strategy to ensure we are Net Zero by 2040. As part of this commitment we are reporting our Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions against a base year of 2020. Our emissions during the year increased against the base year, largely due to an increase in our cost base and higher capital expenditure. In the year, we offset these emissions using an accredited scheme and were therefore carbon neutral. Longer-term, we have committed to reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 50% and absolute Scope 3 emissions by 46% before the end of financial year 2031 and have included these reduction plans in our remuneration targets for the first time. Alongside the reduction in emissions, we are working on a carbon removal plan to help us achieve our long-term net zero goal.

In terms of helping consumers make more sustainable vehicle choices we have engaged over 2.1 million consumers in our monthly EV giveaway campaign, launched an electric car hub on Auto Trader, are working proactively with a number of government departments and industry bodies and have been educating both employees and customers through our carbon literacy training, where we have achieved gold status.

During the year we have adapted our working policies to better reflect the way in which we will work in the future. Our new Connected Working policy looks to retain important aspects of our culture, such as collaboration, relationships, low-bureaucracy, agility and empowerment, while enabling people to better balance their work/life commitments. We are proud that our employee engagement score has remained high despite such challenging circumstances over the past two years, with 95% of employees saying they are proud to work at Auto Trader (March 2021: 93%).

The Board

We welcomed Jasvinder Gakhal as a new Board member from 1 January 2022. Jasvinder is currently Managing Director of Motor at Direct Line Group. She sits on our Nomination, Audit, Remuneration and Corporate Responsibility Committees. There were no other changes to the Board.

Investor calendar

The Group will hold an investor day on Tuesday 6(th) September 2022.

Financial review

Revenue increased to GBP432.7m (2021: GBP262.8m), up 65% when compared to the prior year. Trade revenue, which comprises revenue from Retailers, Home Traders and other smaller revenue streams, increased by 72% to GBP388.3m (2021: GBP225.2m).

 
                              2022    2021   Change 
                              GBPm    GBPm        % 
-------------------------   ------  ------  ------- 
 Retailer                    370.4   211.9      75% 
 Home Trader                   8.8     6.3      40% 
 Other                         9.1     7.0      30% 
--------------------------  ------  ------  ------- 
 Trade                       388.3   225.2      72% 
 Consumer Services            33.3    26.6      25% 
 Manufacturer and Agency      11.1    11.0       1% 
--------------------------  ------  ------  ------- 
 Total                       432.7   262.8      65% 
--------------------------  ------  ------  ------- 
 

Retailer revenue increased by 75% to GBP370.4m (2021: GBP211.9m). Revenue in the prior year was impacted by our decision to provide free advertising to our retailer customers in April 2020, May 2020, December 2020 and February 2021, and at a 25% discount in June 2020, due to the closure of retailer forecourts given COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. There have been no discounts in relation to COVID-19 in 2022.

The average number of retailer forecourts advertising on Auto Trader was up 5% to 13,964 (2021: 13,336). We saw a steady increase in the number of retailers advertising on our platform throughout 2022 with lower cancellations in the period, and levels of acquisition remaining broadly flat.

Average Revenue per Retailer ('ARPR') increased by 67% to GBP2,210 (2021: GBP1,324). The GBP886 increase was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 related discounts in the prior year which made a positive contribution of GBP639 due to their absence in 2022. Excluding these discounts, there was an underlying increase in ARPR of GBP247 spread across our price, stock and product levers:

-- Price: Our price lever contributed an increase of GBP74 (2021: GBP50) to total ARPR as we executed our annual pricing event for the majority of customers on 1 April 2021.

-- Stock: The number of live cars advertised on Auto Trader decreased by 11% to 430,000 (2021: 485,000). This was partially driven by a decline of 18,000 new cars on Auto Trader due to well documented supply shortages. It is important to note though that the stock lever is not driven by live stock but by the number of paid stock units. Last year live used stock was impacted by a stock offer which allowed customers to double their stock for free from late March to mid-July 2020, which did not impact paid for stock. Whilst we did see some downgrades in paid stock during the first half, as a result of faster stock turn and limited supply, much came from our larger Franchise customers who generally have a lower cost per car and paid stock levels partially recovered in the second half. These dynamics resulted in a GBP52 increase in the stock lever (2021: decline of GBP52).

-- Product: Our product lever contributed an increase of GBP121 (2021: GBP89) to total ARPR. Most of this came from retailers choosing to purchase prominence products, including our higher yielding Enhanced, Super and Ultra packages with penetration increasing to 31% of retailer stock (March 2021 (Advanced and Premium): 26%). In addition to packages, retailers sought prominence through greater use of our Pay Per Click product. We also introduced a new digital retailing product called Market Extension, allowing retailers to sell outside of their local area, which also contributed to the product lever, with over 6% of retailer stock on the product by the end of the year. Finally, there was also some contribution from our Retailer Stores product, which was launched in April 2021 as part of our pricing event and other additional standalone products.

Home Trader revenue increased by 40% to GBP8.8m (2021: GBP6.3m). Other revenue increased by GBP2.1m to GBP9.1m (2021: GBP7.0m) with AutoConvert increasing GBP1.0m to GBP2.1m (2021: GBP1.1m).

Consumer Services revenue increased by 25% in the year to GBP33.3m (2021: GBP26.6m). Private revenue, which is generated from individual sellers who pay to advertise their vehicle on the Auto Trader marketplace, increased to GBP19.3m (2021: GBP16.6m). Motoring Services revenue also increased, up 32% to GBP13.1m (2021: GBP9.9m) as a result of strong growth in both our insurance and finance offerings. After launching in 2021, Instant Offer contributed GBP0.9m to Consumer Services revenue (2021: GBP0.1m).

Revenue from Manufacturer and Agency customers was effectively flat at GBP11.1m (2021: GBP11.0m). The pandemic had a significant impact on this revenue line in both 2021 and 2022. Manufacturers have lowered their marketing spend due to semi-conductor supply issues and the resulting lack of clarity on new car supply.

Costs

In 2021, the Group made the decision to reduce costs, mainly through the reduction of discretionary marketing spend, whilst our retail customers were closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. With a return to more normal levels in 2022, costs increased 27% to GBP132.0m (2021: GBP104.0m).

 
 
                                    2022     2021     Change 
                                    GBPm     GBPm          % 
-------------------------------  -------  -------  --------- 
 People costs                       69.8     60.0        16% 
 Marketing                          20.5      9.8       109% 
 Other costs                        34.5     27.9        24% 
 Depreciation & amortisation         7.2      6.3        14% 
 Total administrative expenses     132.0    104.0        27% 
-------------------------------  -------  -------  --------- 
 

People costs, which comprise all staff costs and third-party contractor costs, increased by 16% to GBP69.8m (2021: GBP60.0m). The increase in people costs was primarily driven by an increase in the average number of full-time equivalent employees (including contractors) to 960 (2021: 909) as we invested in our people to support the growth areas of the business. The prior year was impacted by Executive Directors and the Board foregoing 50% or more of their salary and fees for the period of April to June 2020. Performance related pay increased in 2022, in addition to the resumption of annual pay reviews. Underlying salary costs continue to increase as we invest in the best digital talent.

Marketing spend increased by 109% to GBP20.5m (2021: GBP9.8m). The increase was driven by discretionary spend being reduced in the prior year in response to the pandemic as previously mentioned.

Other costs, which include data services, property related costs and other overheads, increased by 24% to GBP34.5m (2021: GBP27.9m). The increase was primarily due to higher overhead costs, including the return of travel, office & people related costs, as well as higher IT spend as we continue to move more of our services and applications to the cloud . Depreciation and amortisation increased to GBP7.2m (2021: GBP6.3m) mainly as a result of an additional office lease and office improvements.

Operating profit

 
 
                                            2022      2021     Change 
                                            GBPm      GBPm          % 
--------------------------------------  --------  --------  --------- 
 Revenue                                   432.7     262.8        65% 
 Administrative expenses                 (132.0)   (104.0)        27% 
 Share of profits from joint ventures        2.9       2.4        21% 
 Operating profit                          303.6     161.2        88% 
--------------------------------------  --------  --------  --------- 
 

During the year Operating profit increased by 88% to GBP303.6m (2021: GBP161.2m). Operating profit margin increased by nine percentage points to 70% (2021: 61%), back in line with 2020 levels. Our share of profit generated by Dealer Auction, the Group's joint venture with Cox Automotive, increased to GBP2.9m (2021: GBP2.4m) as auction activity saw improved levels following a reduction during periods of lockdown in the prior year.

Net finance costs

Net finance costs decreased to GBP2.6m (2021: GBP3.8m). The decrease was driven by lower interest payable of GBP1.4m (2021: GBP2.9m). Amortisation of debt issue costs increased to GBP1.0m due to accelerated amortisation following the reduction of the Syndicated revolving credit facility ('Syndicated RCF') commitments as referenced below (2021: GBP0.6m). Interest on lease liabilities totalled GBP0.2m (2021: GBP0.3m) and interest relating to deferred consideration was GBP0.1m (2021: GBP0.1m). Interest receivable on cash was GBP0.1m (2021: GBP0.1m).

Reduction of RCF commitments

With effect from 24 September 2021, the Company reduced the total commitments of its Syndicated revolving credit facility ('Syndicated RCF') by GBP150m from GBP400m to GBP250m. The facility will terminate in two tranches: GBP52.2m will mature in June 2023 and GBP197.8m will mature in June 2025. Additionally, there was an amendment to the Senior Facilities Agreement to reflect the discontinuation of LIBOR and the transition to SONIA (in respect of sterling loans); Loan Market Association updates; and to include the effect of IFRS 16 for the purposes of calculating financial covenants. There is no requirement to settle all, or part, of the debt earlier than the termination dates stated.

Profit before taxation

Profit before taxation increased by 91% to GBP301.0m (2021: GBP157.4m). The increase resulted from the Operating profit performance, with a further benefit from lower net finance costs of GBP2.6m (2021: GBP3.8m).

Taxation

The Group tax charge increased 90% to GBP56.3m (2021: GBP29.6m) which represents an effective tax rate of 19% (2021: 19%), in line with the average standard UK rate.

Earnings per share

Basic earnings per share increased by 93% to 25.61 pence (2021: 13.24 pence) based on a weighted average number of ordinary shares in issue of 955,532,888 (2021: 965,175,677). Diluted earnings per share of 25.56 pence (2021: 13.21 pence) increased by 93%, based on 957,534,145 shares (2021: 967,404,812) which takes into account the dilutive impact of outstanding share awards. The reduction in shares is due to the share buyback programme throughout 2022.

Cash flow and net cash

Cash generated from operations increased by 115% to GBP328.1m (2021: GBP152.9m) primarily due to the increase in Operating profit but also a positive working capital movement, driven by VAT. Corporation tax payments increased to GBP56.2m (2021: GBP28.2m), due to higher profit before taxation. Net cash generated from operating activities was GBP271.9m (2021: GBP124.7m).

As at 31 March 2022 the Group had net cash of GBP41.7m (31 March 2021: GBP10.3m), representing an increase of GBP31.4m. At the year end, the Group had drawn GBPnil of the Syndicated revolving credit facility (31 March 2021: GBP30.0m) and held cash and cash equivalents of GBP51.3m (2021: GBP45.7m).

Leverage, defined as the ratio of Net bank debt to EBITDA, remained at zero as we exit the year in a net cash position. Interest paid on these financing arrangements was GBP1.5m (2021: GBP3.0m).

Capital structure and dividends

During the year, a total of 24.9m shares (2021: nil) were purchased for a total consideration of GBP163.5m (2021: nil) before transaction costs of GBP0.8m (2021: nil). A further GBP73.6m (2021: nil) was paid in dividends, giving a total of GBP237.1m (2021: nil) in cash returned to shareholders. The Directors are recommending a final dividend of 5.5 pence per share. Subject to shareholders' approval at the Annual General Meeting ('AGM') on 15 September 2022, the final dividend will be paid on 23 September 2022 to shareholders on the register of members at the close of business on 25 August 2022 . The total dividend for the year is therefore 8.2 pence per share (2021: 5.0 pence per share).

In the coming year, it is expected that the Group will draw on its revolving credit facility to fund part of the initial consideration relating to the Autorama acquisition. The Group's long-term capital allocation policy remains broadly unchanged: continuing to invest in the business, enabling it to grow whilst returning around one third of net income to shareholders in the form of dividends. Any surplus cash following these activities will be used to continue our share buy-back programme and steadily reduce gross indebtedness. It is the Board's long-term intention that over time the Group will return to a net cash position.

Going concern

The Group generated significant cash from operations during the period. At 31 March 2022 the Group had drawn GBPnil of its GBP250m (previously GBP400m) unsecured Syndicated revolving credit facility ('Syndicated RCF') and had cash balances of GBP51.3m. The GBP250m Syndicated RCF is committed until June 2023, when it reduces to GBP197.8m through to maturity in June 2025. Financial projections for the next 12 months include the capital commitment to acquire Autorama (UK) Limited given the likelihood of the event. On the basis of facilities available and current financial projections for the next 12 months, the Directors have concluded that it is appropriate to prepare these financial statements on a going concern basis.

Commitment to acquire Autorama (UK) Limited

The Group has agreed to acquire, subject to regulatory approvals which at the date of this report had not all been received, the share capital of Autorama (UK) Limited. The transaction is expected to complete in the first half of financial year 2023. Auto Trader will pay initial consideration of GBP150m in cash, with a further GBP50m of deferred consideration to be settled in shares subject to customary performance conditions 12 months after the completion date. Once issued, the shares will vest over a period of two years in two 12-month instalments. At 31 December 2021, Autorama had GBP27m of gross assets and for the calendar year 2021, made net revenue of GBP26m, selling c.14,500 vehicles, and had an EBITDA loss of GBP6m, which included marketing costs of over GBP9m.

Consolidated income statement

For the year ended 31 March 2022

 
                                                      2022     2021 
                                             Note     GBPm     GBPm 
-------------------------------------------  ----  -------  ------- 
Revenue                                         3    432.7    262.8 
Administrative expenses                            (132.0)  (104.0) 
Share of profit from joint ventures            11      2.9      2.4 
-------------------------------------------  ----  -------  ------- 
Operating profit                                4    303.6    161.2 
 
Net finance costs                               5    (2.6)    (3.8) 
-------------------------------------------  ----  -------  ------- 
Profit before taxation                               301.0    157.4 
 
Taxation                                        6   (56.3)   (29.6) 
-------------------------------------------  ----  -------  ------- 
Profit for the year attributable to equity 
 holders of the parent                               244.7    127.8 
-------------------------------------------  ----  -------  ------- 
 
Basic earnings per share (pence)                7    25.61    13.24 
-------------------------------------------  ----  -------  ------- 
 
Diluted earnings per share (pence)              7    25.56    13.21 
-------------------------------------------  ----  -------  ------- 
 

Consolidated statement of comprehensive income

For the year ended 31 March 2022

 
                                                           2022   2021 
                                                           GBPm   GBPm 
-------------------------------------------------------   -----  ----- 
Profit for the year                                       244.7  127.8 
 
Other comprehensive income 
Items that may be subsequently reclassified 
 to profit or loss 
Exchange differences on translation of foreign 
 operations                                                 0.2  (0.2) 
--------------------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
 
Items that will not be reclassified to profit 
 or loss 
Remeasurements of post-employment benefit obligations, 
 net of tax                                                 0.2    1.6 
--------------------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
 
Other comprehensive income for the year, net 
 of tax                                                     0.4    1.4 
--------------------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
Total comprehensive income for the year attributable 
 to equity holders of the parent                          245.1  129.2 
--------------------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
 

Consolidated balance sheet

At 31 March 2022

 
                                                          2022       2021 
                                               Note       GBPm       GBPm 
---------------------------------------------  ----  ---------  --------- 
Assets 
Non-current assets 
Intangible assets                                 8      355.6      358.2 
Property, plant and equipment                     9       14.7       11.2 
Deferred taxation assets                                   1.4        1.7 
Retirement benefit surplus                                 3.7        3.2 
Net investments in joint ventures                11       49.7       54.6 
---------------------------------------------  ----  ---------  --------- 
                                                         425.1      428.9 
Current assets 
Trade and other receivables                               65.9       59.6 
Current income tax assets                                  0.6        0.3 
Cash and cash equivalents                                 51.3       45.7 
---------------------------------------------  ----  ---------  --------- 
                                                         117.8      105.6 
---------------------------------------------  ----  ---------  --------- 
Total assets                                             542.9      534.5 
---------------------------------------------  ----  ---------  --------- 
 
Equity and liabilities 
Equity attributable to equity holders of the 
 parent 
Share capital                                    13        9.5        9.7 
Share premium                                    13      182.6      182.4 
Retained earnings                                      1,332.4    1,307.3 
Own shares held                                  14     (22.4)     (10.7) 
Capital reorganisation reserve                       (1,060.8)  (1,060.8) 
Capital redemption reserve                                 1.0        0.8 
Other reserves                                            30.2       30.0 
---------------------------------------------  ----  ---------  --------- 
Total equity                                             472.5      458.7 
---------------------------------------------  ----  ---------  --------- 
 
Liabilities 
Non-current liabilities 
Borrowings                                       12          -       27.6 
Provisions for other liabilities and charges               1.3        1.1 
Lease liabilities                                          6.5        5.0 
Deferred income                                            8.9        9.4 
Deferred consideration                                       -        7.9 
---------------------------------------------  ----  ---------  --------- 
                                                          16.7       51.0 
Current liabilities 
Trade and other payables                                  42.0       21.8 
Provisions for other liabilities and charges               0.7        0.5 
Lease liabilities                                          3.0        2.5 
Deferred consideration                                     8.0          - 
---------------------------------------------  ----  ---------  --------- 
                                                          53.7       24.8 
---------------------------------------------  ----  ---------  --------- 
Total liabilities                                         70.4       75.8 
---------------------------------------------  ----  ---------  --------- 
Total equity and liabilities                             542.9      534.5 
---------------------------------------------  ----  ---------  --------- 
 

The financial statements were approved by the Board of Directors on 26 May 2022 and authorised for issue:

Jamie Warner

Chief Financial Officer

Auto Trader Group plc

Registered number: 09439967

Consolidated statement of changes in equity

For the year ended 31 March 2022

 
                                                                 Own          Capital      Capital 
                                 Share     Share   Retained   shares   reorganisation   redemption      Other    Total 
                               capital   premium   earnings     held          reserve      reserve   reserves   equity 
                        Note      GBPm      GBPm       GBPm     GBPm             GBPm         GBPm       GBPm     GBPm 
----------------------  ----  --------  --------  ---------  -------  ---------------  -----------  ---------  ------- 
Balance at 31 March 
 2020                              9.2         -    1,180.1   (17.9)        (1,060.8)          0.8       30.2    141.6 
----------------------  ----  --------  --------  ---------  -------  ---------------  -----------  ---------  ------- 
Profit for the year                  -         -      127.8        -                -            -          -    127.8 
----------------------  ----  --------  --------  ---------  -------  ---------------  -----------  ---------  ------- 
 
Other comprehensive 
 income: 
Currency translation 
 differences                         -         -          -        -                -            -      (0.2)    (0.2) 
Remeasurements of 
 post-employment 
 benefit obligations, 
 net of tax                          -         -        1.6        -                -            -          -      1.6 
----------------------  ----  --------  --------  ---------  -------  ---------------  -----------  ---------  ------- 
Total comprehensive 
 income, 
 net of tax                          -         -      129.4        -                -            -      (0.2)    129.2 
----------------------  ----  --------  --------  ---------  -------  ---------------  -----------  ---------  ------- 
 
Transactions with 
owners 
Employee share schemes 
 - value of employee 
 services                            -         -        3.3        -                -            -          -      3.3 
Exercise of employee 
 share schemes                       -         -      (6.0)      7.0                -            -          -      1.0 
Transfer of shares 
 from 
 ESOT                                -         -      (0.2)      0.2                -            -          -        - 
Tax impact of employee 
 share schemes                       -         -        0.7        -                -            -          -      0.7 
Issue of ordinary 
 shares                   13       0.5     182.4          -        -                -            -          -    182.9 
----------------------  ----  --------  --------  ---------  -------  ---------------  -----------  ---------  ------- 
Total transactions 
 with 
 owners, recognised 
 directly 
 in equity                         0.5     182.4      (2.2)      7.2                -            -          -    187.9 
----------------------  ----  --------  --------  ---------  -------  ---------------  -----------  ---------  ------- 
 
Balance at 31 March 
 2021                              9.7     182.4    1,307.3   (10.7)        (1,060.8)          0.8       30.0    458.7 
----------------------  ----  --------  --------  ---------  -------  ---------------  -----------  ---------  ------- 
Profit for the year                  -         -      244.7        -                -            -          -    244.7 
----------------------  ----  --------  --------  ---------  -------  ---------------  -----------  ---------  ------- 
 
Other comprehensive 
 income: 
Currency translation 
 differences                         -         -          -        -                -            -        0.2      0.2 
Remeasurements of 
 post-employment 
 benefit obligations, 
 net of tax                          -         -        0.2        -                -            -          -      0.2 
----------------------  ----  --------  --------  ---------  -------  ---------------  -----------  ---------  ------- 
Total comprehensive 
 income, 
 net of tax                          -         -      244.9        -                -            -        0.2    245.1 
----------------------  ----  --------  --------  ---------  -------  ---------------  -----------  ---------  ------- 
 
Transactions with 
owners 
Employee share schemes 
 - value of employee 
 services                            -         -        5.1        -                -            -          -      5.1 
Exercise of employee 
 share schemes                       -         -      (4.8)      6.0                -            -          -      1.2 
Transfer of shares 
 from 
 ESOT                                -         -      (0.1)      0.1                -            -          -        - 
Tax impact of employee 
 share schemes                       -         -        0.1        -                -            -          -      0.1 
Purchase of own shares 
 for treasury                        -         -          -   (17.8)                -            -          -   (17.8) 
Purchase of own shares 
 for cancellation                (0.2)         -    (146.5)        -                -          0.2          -  (146.5) 
Issue of ordinary 
 shares                 13           -       0.2          -        -                -            -          -      0.2 
Dividends paid                       -         -     (73.6)        -                -            -          -   (73.6) 
----------------------  ----  --------  --------  ---------  -------  ---------------  -----------  ---------  ------- 
Total transactions 
 with 
 owners, recognised 
 directly 
 in equity                       (0.2)       0.2    (219.8)   (11.7)                -          0.2          -  (231.3) 
----------------------  ----  --------  --------  ---------  -------  ---------------  -----------  ---------  ------- 
 
Balance at 31 March 
 2022                              9.5     182.6    1,332.4   (22.4)        (1,060.8)          1.0       30.2    472.5 
----------------------  ----  --------  --------  ---------  -------  ---------------  -----------  ---------  ------- 
 

Consolidated statement of cash flows

For the year ended 31 March 2022

 
                                                               2022     2021 
                                                      Note     GBPm     GBPm 
----------------------------------------------------  ----  -------  ------- 
Cash flows from operating activities 
Cash generated from operations                          16    328.1    152.9 
Income taxes paid                                            (56.2)   (28.2) 
----------------------------------------------------  ----  -------  ------- 
Net cash generated from operating activities                  271.9    124.7 
 
Cash flows from investing activities 
Purchases of intangible assets - software                         -    (0.1) 
Purchases of property, plant and equipment                    (2.8)    (1.3) 
Dividends received from joint ventures                          7.8        - 
Payment for acquisition of subsidiary, net of 
 cash acquired                                                    -   (10.0) 
----------------------------------------------------  ----  -------  ------- 
Net cash used in investing activities                           5.0   (11.4) 
 
Cash flows from financing activities 
Dividends paid to Company's shareholders                     (73.6)        - 
Drawdown of Syndicated revolving credit facility                  -     64.5 
Repayment of Syndicated revolving credit facility            (30.0)  (347.5) 
Payment of refinancing fees                                       -    (0.5) 
Payment of interest on borrowings                             (1.5)    (3.0) 
Payment of lease liabilities                                  (3.2)    (2.5) 
Purchase of own shares for cancellation                 13  (145.8)        - 
Purchase of own shares for treasury                     14   (17.7)        - 
Payment of fees on purchase of own shares                     (0.8)        - 
Proceeds from the issue of shares net of bookrunner 
 fees                                                   13        -    183.2 
Payment of fees on issue of own shares                  13        -    (0.3) 
Contributions to defined benefit pension scheme               (0.1)    (0.1) 
Proceeds from exercise of share-based incentives                1.4      1.0 
----------------------------------------------------  ----  -------  ------- 
Net cash used in financing activities                       (271.3)  (105.2) 
 
Net increase in cash and cash equivalents                       5.6      8.1 
Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of year                 45.7     37.6 
Cash and cash equivalents at end of year                       51.3     45.7 
----------------------------------------------------  ----  -------  ------- 
 

Notes to the consolidated financial statements

1. General information

Basis of preparation

The consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with international accounting standards in conformity with the requirements of the Companies Act 2006, and in accordance with UK-adopted international accounting standards. The consolidated financial statements have been prepared on the going concern basis and under the historical cost convention.

The following amendments to standards have been adopted by the Group for the first time for the financial year beginning on 1 April 2021:

   --      COVID-19-Related Rent Concessions (Amendment to IFRS 16) 

-- Interest Rate Benchmark Reform - Phase 2 (Amendments to IFRS 9, IAS 39, IFRS 7, IFRS 4 and IFRS 16)

   --      COVID-19-Related Rent Concessions beyond 30 June 2021 (Amendment to IFRS 16) 

The adoption of these amendments has had no material effect on the Group's consolidated financial statements.

There are a number of amendments to IFRS that have been issued by the IASB that become mandatory in a subsequent accounting period including:

   --      Onerous Contracts - Cost of Fulfilling a Contract (Amendments to IAS 37) 
   --      Annual Improvements to IFRS Standards 2018-2020 
   --      Property, Plant and Equipment: Proceeds before Intended Use (Amendments to IAS 16) 
   --      Reference to the Conceptual Framework (Amendments to IFRS 3) 
   --      IFRS 17 Insurance Contracts 
   --      Classification of liabilities as current or non-current (Amendments to IAS 1) 
   --      Disclosure of Accounting Policies (Amendments to IAS 1 and IFRS Practice Statement 2) 
   --      Definition of Accounting Estimate (Amendments to IAS 8) 

-- Deferred Tax Related to Assets and Liabilities Arising from a Single Transaction - Amendments to IAS 12 Income Taxes

-- Sale or Contribution of Assets between an Investor and its Associate or Joint Venture (Amendments to IFRS 10 and IAS 28)

The Group has evaluated these changes and none are expected to have a significant impact on these consolidated financial statements.

The financial information set out above does not constitute the company's statutory accounts for the years ended 31 March 2022 or 31 March 2021 but is derived from those accounts. Statutory accounts for 31 March 2021 have been delivered to the registrar of companies, and those for 31 March 2022 will be delivered in due course. The auditor has reported on those accounts; their reports were (i) unqualified, (ii) did not include a reference to any matters to which the auditor drew attention by way of emphasis without qualifying their report and (iii) did not contain a statement under section 498 (2) or (3) of the Companies Act 2006.

Going concern

During the year ended 31 March 2022 the Group has continued to generate significant cash from operations. The Group has an overall positive net asset position and had cash balances of GBP51.3m at 31 March 2022 (2021: GBP45.7m). During the year GBP237.1m was returned to shareholders through share buybacks and dividends (2021: nil).

The Group has access to a Syndicated revolving credit facility (the 'Syndicated RCF'). At 31 March 2022 the Group had nil (2021: GBP30m) drawn of its GBP250m Syndicated RCF. The GBP250m Syndicated RCF is committed until June 2023, when it reduces to GBP197.8m through to maturity in June 2025.

Cash flow projections for a period of not less than 12 months from the date of this report have been prepared and include the capital commitment to acquire Autorama (UK) Limited given the likelihood of the event. Stress case scenarios have been modelled to make the assessment of going concern, taking into account severe but plausible potential impacts of a returning pandemic, a data breach and banning the sale of diesel cars. The results of the stress testing demonstrated that due to the Group's significant free cash flow, access to the Syndicated RCF and the Board's ability to adjust the discretionary share buyback programme, the Group would be able to withstand the impact and remain cash generative. Subsequent to the year end, the Group has generated cash flows in line with its forecast and there are no events that have adversely impacted the Group's liquidity.

The Directors, after making enquiries and on the basis of current financial projections and facilities available, believe that the Group has adequate financial resources to continue in operation for a period not less than 12 months from the date of this report. For this reason, they continue to adopt the going concern basis in preparing the financial statements.

Accounting estimates and judgements

The preparation of financial statements in conformity with IFRS requires the use of certain accounting estimates and assumptions. It also requires management to exercise its judgement in the process of applying the Group's accounting policies. Estimates and judgements are continually evaluated and are based on historical experience and other factors, including expectations of future events that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances.

There are no accounting estimates or judgements which are critical to the reporting of results of operations and financial position.

The accounting estimates and judgements believed to require the most subjectivity or complexity are as follows:

Carrying values of goodwill

The Group tests annually whether goodwill, held by the group or its joint venture, has suffered any impairment. Judgement is required in the identification and allocation of goodwill to cash-generating units. The recoverable amounts of cash-generating units have been determined based on value-in-use calculations, which require the use of estimates.

Recoverability of financial assets

IFRS 9 prescribes that historical expected credit losses should be adjusted for forward-looking information to reflect macro-economic and market conditions. Used car pricing could potentially decline after significant price growth throughout the financial year ended 31 March 2022; this may have an adverse effect on the cash flows of retailers and is likely to increase credit risk looking forward as less profit is made per vehicle sold.

Adjustments were made to the expected credit losses on financial assets to reflect this.

Share-based payments

Share-based payment arrangements in which the Group receives goods or services as consideration for its own equity instruments are accounted for as equity-settled share-based payment transactions. The fair value of services received in return for share options is calculated with reference to the fair value of the award on the date of grant. Black-Scholes and Monte Carlo models have been used where appropriate to calculate the fair value and the Directors have therefore made estimates with regard to the inputs to that model. Estimation also arises over the number of share awards that are expected to vest, which is based whether non-market conditions are expected to be met.

2. Segmental information

IFRS 8 'Operating segments' requires the Group to determine its operating segments based on information which is provided internally. Based on the internal reporting information and management structures within the Group in the year, it has been determined that there is only one operating segment being the Group, as the information reported includes operating results at a consolidated Group level only. This reflects the nature of the business, where the major cost is to support the IT platforms upon which all of the Group's customers are serviced. These costs are borne centrally and are not attributable to any specific customer type or revenue stream. There is also considered to be only one reportable segment, which is the Group, the results of which are shown in the Consolidated income statement.

Management has determined that there is one operating and reporting segment based on the reports reviewed by the Operational Leadership Team ('OLT') which is the chief operating decision-maker ('CODM'). The OLT is made up of the Executive Directors and Key Management and is responsible for the strategic decision-making of the Group.

The OLT primarily uses the statutory measures of Revenue and Operating profit to assess the performance of the one operating segment. To assist in the analysis of the Group's revenue-generating trends, the OLT reviews revenue at a disaggregated level as detailed within note 3. The revenue from external parties reported to the OLT is measured in a manner consistent with that in the income statement.

A reconciliation of the segment's Operating profit to Profit before tax is shown below.

 
                             2022   2021 
                             GBPm   GBPm 
Total segment Revenue       432.7  262.8 
--------------------------  -----  ----- 
Total segment Operating 
 profit                     303.6  161.2 
Finance costs - net         (2.6)  (3.8) 
--------------------------  -----  ----- 
Profit before tax           301.0  157.4 
--------------------------  -----  ----- 
 

Geographic information

The Group is domiciled in the UK and the following tables detail external revenue by location of customers, trade receivables and non-current assets (excluding deferred tax) by geographic area:

 
                 2022   2021 
Revenue          GBPm   GBPm 
--------------  -----  ----- 
UK              427.8  259.0 
Ireland           4.9    3.8 
--------------  -----  ----- 
Total revenue   432.7  262.8 
--------------  -----  ----- 
 
 
                               2022   2021 
Trade receivables              GBPm   GBPm 
----------------------------  -----  ----- 
UK                             25.3   23.1 
Ireland                         0.4    0.2 
----------------------------  -----  ----- 
Total net trade receivables    25.7   23.3 
----------------------------  -----  ----- 
 
 
                                                     2022   2021 
Non-current assets (excluding deferred tax)          GBPm   GBPm 
--------------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
UK                                                  417.5  420.9 
Ireland                                               6.2    6.3 
--------------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
Total non-current assets (excluding deferred tax)   423.7  427.2 
--------------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
 

Due to the large number of customers the Group serves, there are no individual customers whose revenue is greater than 10% of the Group's total revenue in all periods presented in these financial statements.

3. Revenue

The Group's operations and main revenue streams are those described in these annual financial statements. The Group's revenue is derived from contracts with customers.

In the following table the Group's revenue is detailed by customer type. This level of detail is consistent with that used by management to assist in the analysis of the Group's revenue-generating trends.

 
                           2022   2021 
Revenue                    GBPm   GBPm 
------------------------  -----  ----- 
  Retailer                370.4  211.9 
  Home Trader               8.8    6.3 
  Other                     9.1    7.0 
Trade                     388.3  225.2 
Consumer Services          33.3   26.6 
Manufacturer and Agency    11.1   11.0 
------------------------  -----  ----- 
Total revenue             432.7  262.8 
------------------------  -----  ----- 
 

4. Operating profit

Operating profit is after charging the following:

 
                                                         2022                  2021 
                                                 Note    GBPm                  GBPm 
-----------------------------------------------  ----  ------  -------------------- 
Staff costs                                            (69.8)                (59.9) 
Contractor costs                                            -                 (0.1) 
Depreciation of property, plant and equipment       9   (4.6)                 (3.7) 
Amortisation of intangible assets                   8   (2.6)                 (2.6) 
(Loss) / Profit on sale of property, plant and 
 equipment                                                  -                 (0.2) 
-----------------------------------------------  ----  ------  -------------------- 
 

5. Net finance costs

 
                                                    2022   2021 
                                                    GBPm   GBPm 
-------------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
On bank loans and overdrafts                         1.4    2.9 
Amortisation of debt issue costs                     1.0    0.6 
Interest unwind on lease liabilities                 0.2    0.3 
Interest charged on deferred consideration           0.1    0.1 
Interest receivable on cash and cash equivalents   (0.1)  (0.1) 
-------------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
Total                                                2.6    3.8 
-------------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
 

6. Taxation

 
                                                     2022   2021 
                                                     GBPm   GBPm 
--------------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
Current taxation 
UK corporation taxation                              56.5   28.8 
Foreign taxation                                      0.2      - 
Adjustments in respect of prior years               (0.4)      - 
--------------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
Total current taxation                               56.3   28.8 
--------------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
 
Deferred taxation 
Origination and reversal of temporary differences     0.3    0.5 
Effect of rate changes on opening balance             0.2      - 
Adjustments in respect of prior years               (0.5)    0.3 
--------------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
Total deferred taxation                                 -    0.8 
--------------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
Total taxation charge                                56.3   29.6 
--------------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
 

The taxation charge for the year is lower than (2021: lower than) the effective rate of corporation tax in the UK of 19% (2021: 19%). The differences are explained below:

 
                                                         2022   2021 
                                                         GBPm   GBPm 
------------------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
Profit before taxation                                  301.0  157.4 
------------------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
Tax on profit at the standard UK corporation tax rate 
 of 19% (2021: 19%)                                      57.2   29.9 
Expenses not deductible for taxation purposes             0.2    0.1 
Income not taxable                                          -  (0.7) 
Adjustments in respect of foreign tax rates             (0.1)      - 
Effect of rate change on deferred tax                     0.1      - 
Adjustments in respect of OCI group relief              (0.2)      - 
Adjustments in respect of prior years                   (0.9)    0.3 
------------------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
Total taxation charge                                    56.3   29.6 
------------------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
 

Taxation on items taken directly to equity was a credit of GBP0.1m (2021: GBP0.7m) relating to tax on share-based payments.

Tax recorded in equity within the Consolidated statement of comprehensive income was a charge of GBP0.2m (2021: GBP0.8m) relating to post-employment benefit obligations.

The tax charge for the year is based on the standard rate of UK corporation tax for the period of 19% (2021: 19%). Deferred income taxes have been measured at the tax rate expected to be applicable at the date the deferred income tax assets and liabilities are realised.

On 10 June 2021, Royal Assent to the Finance Act was given to increase the UK corporation tax from 19% to 25% from 1 April 2023. Management has performed an assessment, for all material deferred income tax assets and liabilities, to determine the period over which the deferred income tax assets and liabilities are forecast to be realised, which has resulted in an average deferred income tax rate of 20% being used to measure all deferred tax balances as at 31 March 2022 (2021: 19%).

7. Earnings per share

Basic earnings per share is calculated using the weighted average number of ordinary shares in issue during the year, excluding those held in treasury and by the Employee Share Option Trust ('ESOT'), based on the profit for the year attributable to shareholders.

 
                               Weighted 
                                average 
                                 number      Total 
                            of ordinary   earnings       Pence 
                                 shares       GBPm   per share 
-------------------------  ------------  ---------  ---------- 
Year ended 31 March 2022 
Basic EPS                   955,532,888      244.7       25.61 
Diluted EPS                 957,534,145      244.7       25.56 
-------------------------  ------------  ---------  ---------- 
 
Year ended 31 March 2021 
Basic EPS                   965,175,677      127.8       13.24 
Diluted EPS                 967,404,812      127.8       13.21 
-------------------------  ------------  ---------  ---------- 
 

The number of shares in issue at the start of the year is reconciled to the basic and diluted weighted average number of shares below:

 
                                                                   2022         2021 
----------------------------------------------------------  -----------  ----------- 
Issued ordinary shares at 1 April                           969,024,186  922,540,474 
Weighted effect of ordinary shares purchased for 
 cancellation                                               (9,573,664)            - 
Weighted effect of ordinary shares held in treasury         (3,572,833)  (3,123,323) 
Weighted effect of shares held in the ESOT                    (371,316)    (455,995) 
Weighted effect of ordinary shares issued for share-based 
 payments                                                        26,515          842 
Weighted effect of shares issued on 3 April 2020 
 equity raise                                                         -   46,213,679 
Weighted average number of shares for basic EPS             955,532,888  965,175,677 
----------------------------------------------------------  -----------  ----------- 
Dilutive impact of share options outstanding                  2,001,257    2,229,135 
----------------------------------------------------------  -----------  ----------- 
Weighted average number of shares for diluted EPS           957,534,145  967,404,812 
----------------------------------------------------------  -----------  ----------- 
 

For diluted earnings per share, the weighted average number of shares for basic EPS is adjusted to assume conversion of all potentially dilutive ordinary shares. The Group has potentially dilutive ordinary shares arising from share options granted to employees. Options are dilutive under the Sharesave scheme where the exercise price together with the future IFRS 2 charge is less than the average market price of the ordinary shares during the year. Options under the Performance Share Plan, Single Incentive Plan Award, the Deferred Annual Bonus Plan and the Share Incentive Plan are contingently issuable shares and are therefore only included within the calculation of diluted EPS if the performance conditions are satisfied.

The average market value of the Group's shares for the purposes of calculating the dilutive effect of share-based incentives was based on quoted market prices for the period during which the share-based incentives were outstanding.

8. Intangible assets

 
                                          Software 
                                       and website 
                                       development  Financial 
                            Goodwill         costs    systems  Database  Other  Total 
                                GBPm          GBPm       GBPm      GBPm   GBPm   GBPm 
--------------------------  --------  ------------  ---------  --------  -----  ----- 
Cost 
At 31 March 2020               444.5           9.3       13.1       8.5   18.1  493.5 
Acquired through business 
 combinations                   13.6           5.5          -         -      -   19.1 
Additions                          -           0.1          -         -      -    0.1 
Disposals                          -         (0.4)          -         -      -  (0.4) 
Exchange differences           (0.2)         (0.1)          -         -  (0.1)  (0.4) 
--------------------------  --------  ------------  ---------  --------  -----  ----- 
At 31 March 2021               457.9          14.4       13.1       8.5   18.0  511.9 
--------------------------  --------  ------------  ---------  --------  -----  ----- 
At 31 March 2022               457.9          14.4       13.1       8.5   18.0  511.9 
--------------------------  --------  ------------  ---------  --------  -----  ----- 
 
Accumulated amortisation and 
 impairments 
------------------------------------  ------------  ---------  --------  -----  ----- 
At 31 March 2020               117.0           7.5       12.2       0.3   14.6  151.6 
Amortisation charge                -           1.3        0.6       0.6    0.1    2.6 
Disposals                          -         (0.4)          -         -      -  (0.4) 
Exchange differences               -         (0.1)          -         -      -  (0.1) 
--------------------------  --------  ------------  ---------  --------  -----  ----- 
At 31 March 2021               117.0           8.3       12.8       0.9   14.7  153.7 
Amortisation charge                -           0.9        0.3       0.6    0.8    2.6 
At 31 March 2022               117.0           9.2       13.1       1.5   15.5  156.3 
--------------------------  --------  ------------  ---------  --------  -----  ----- 
 
Net book value at 31 
 March 2022                    340.9           5.2          -       7.0    2.5  355.6 
Net book value at 31 
 March 2021                    340.9           6.1        0.3       7.6    3.3  358.2 
Net book value at 31 
 March 2020                    327.5           1.8        0.9       8.2    3.5  341.9 
--------------------------  --------  ------------  ---------  --------  -----  ----- 
 

Other intangibles include customer relationships, technology, trade names, trademarks, non-compete agreements and brand assets. Intangible assets which have a finite useful life are carried at cost less accumulated amortisation. Amortisation of these intangible assets is calculated using the straight-line method to allocate the cost of the assets over their estimated useful lives (3 to 15 years). The longest estimated useful life remaining at 31 March 2022 is 13 years (31 March 2021: 14 years).

For the year to 31 March 2022, the amortisation charge of GBP2.6m (2021: GBP2.6m) has been charged to administrative expenses in the income statement. At 31 March 2022, there were no software and website development costs representing assets under construction (2021: GBPnil).

In accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards, goodwill is not amortised, but instead is tested annually for impairment, or more frequently if there are indicators of impairment. Goodwill is carried at cost less accumulated impairment losses.

9. Property, plant and equipment

 
                                           Land, 
                                       buildings 
                                   and leasehold      Office      Motor 
                                    improvements   equipment   vehicles  Total 
                                            GBPm        GBPm       GBPm   GBPm 
--------------------------------  --------------  ----------  ---------  ----- 
Cost 
At 31 March 2020                            16.5        15.1        1.3   32.9 
Additions                                    0.6         0.7        0.7    2.0 
Disposals and modifications                (0.6)       (2.8)      (0.1)  (3.5) 
--------------------------------  --------------  ----------  ---------  ----- 
At 31 March 2021                            16.5        13.0        1.9   31.4 
Additions                                    6.6         1.3        0.2    8.1 
Disposals and modifications                    -       (0.4)      (0.5)  (0.9) 
--------------------------------  --------------  ----------  ---------  ----- 
At 31 March 2022                            23.1        13.9        1.6   38.6 
--------------------------------  --------------  ----------  ---------  ----- 
 
Accumulated depreciation 
--------------------------------  --------------  ----------  ---------  ----- 
At 31 March 2020                             6.2        12.5        1.1   19.8 
Charge for the year                          2.5         0.9        0.3    3.7 
Disposals                                  (0.5)       (2.8)          -  (3.3) 
--------------------------------  --------------  ----------  ---------  ----- 
At 31 March 2021                             8.2        10.6        1.4   20.2 
Charge for the year                          3.3         0.9        0.4    4.6 
Disposals                                      -       (0.4)      (0.5)  (0.9) 
--------------------------------  --------------  ----------  ---------  ----- 
At 31 March 2022                            11.5        11.1        1.3   23.9 
--------------------------------  --------------  ----------  ---------  ----- 
 
Net book value at 31 March 2022             11.6         2.8        0.3   14.7 
Net book value at 31 March 2021              8.3         2.4        0.5   11.2 
Net book value at 31 March 2020             10.3         2.6        0.2   13.1 
--------------------------------  --------------  ----------  ---------  ----- 
 

Included within property, plant and equipment are GBP8.3m (2021: GBP5.6m) of assets recognised as leases under IFRS 16. The depreciation expense of GBP4.6m for the year to 31 March 2022 (2021: GBP3.7m) has been recorded

in administrative expenses.

During the year, GBP0.4m (2021: GBP3.3m) worth of property, plant and equipment with GBPnil net book value was disposed of.

10. Leases

The Group leases assets including land and buildings and motor vehicles that are held within property, plant and equipment. Information about leases for which the Group is a lessee is presented below.

 
                                                      2022   2021 
                                                      GBPm   GBPm 
---------------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
Net book value property, plant and equipment owned     6.4    5.6 
Net book value right of use assets                     8.3    5.6 
---------------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
                                                      14.7   11.2 
---------------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
 
 
                                                 Land, 
                                             buildings 
                                         and leasehold      Office      Motor 
                                          improvements   equipment   vehicles  Total 
Net book value of right of use assets             GBPm        GBPm       GBPm   GBPm 
--------------------------------------  --------------  ----------  ---------  ----- 
Balance at 31 March 2020                           6.5         0.1        0.2    6.8 
--------------------------------------  --------------  ----------  ---------  ----- 
Additions                                            -           -        0.7    0.7 
Depreciation charge                              (1.6)           -      (0.3)  (1.9) 
--------------------------------------  --------------  ----------  ---------  ----- 
At 31 March 2021                                   4.9         0.1        0.6    5.6 
--------------------------------------  --------------  ----------  ---------  ----- 
Additions                                          5.1           -        0.2    5.3 
Depreciation charge                              (2.2)           -      (0.4)  (2.6) 
--------------------------------------  --------------  ----------  ---------  ----- 
At 31 March 2022                                   7.8         0.1        0.4    8.3 
--------------------------------------  --------------  ----------  ---------  ----- 
 
 
                                                      2022   2021 
Lease liabilities in the balance sheet at 31 March    GBPm   GBPm 
---------------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
Current                                                3.0    2.5 
Non-current                                            6.5    5.0 
---------------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
Total                                                  9.5    7.5 
---------------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
 

The term recognised for certain leases has assumed lease break options are exercised. Certain lease rentals are subject to periodic market rental reviews.

On 14 April 2021, the Group entered into a new lease arrangement to rent an additional 16,000 square feet in our Manchester office to support the needs of our growing workforce. The Group also extended the term of the existing lease of our Manchester office space. These changes resulted in a lease modification under IFRS 16. The right of use assets were increased by GBP5.1m with corresponding adjustments to the lease liability and dilapidations provision.

 
                                                 2022   2021 
 Amounts charged in the income statement         GBPm   GBPm 
----------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
Depreciation charge of right-of-use assets        2.6    1.9 
Interest on lease liabilities                     0.2    0.3 
Gain on disposal of right-of-use assets             -      - 
----------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
Total amounts charged in the income statement     2.8    2.2 
----------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
 
 
                                 2022   2021 
Cash outflow                     GBPm   GBPm 
------------------------------  -----  ----- 
Total cash outflow for leases     3.2    2.5 
------------------------------  -----  ----- 
 

11. Net investments in joint ventures

Joint ventures are contractual arrangements over which the Group exercises joint control with partners and where the parties have rights to the net assets of the arrangement, irrespective of the Group's shareholding in the entity.

The Group owns 49% of the ordinary share capital of Dealer Auction Limited (previously Dealer Auction (Holdings) Limited). Net investments in joint ventures at the reporting date include the Group's equity investment in joint ventures and the Group's share of the joint ventures' post acquisition net assets.

The table below reconciles the movement in the Group's net investment in joint ventures in the year:

 
                                                                Group's 
                                                                  share  Net investments 
                                            Equity investments   of net         in joint 
                                             in joint ventures   assets         ventures 
                                                          GBPm     GBPm             GBPm 
------------------------------------------  ------------------  -------  --------------- 
Carrying value 
As at 1 April 2020                                        48.1      4.1             52.2 
Share of result for the year taken to the 
 income statement                                            -      2.4              2.4 
------------------------------------------  ------------------  -------  --------------- 
As at 31 March 2021                                       48.1      6.5             54.6 
Share of result for the year taken to the 
 income statement                                            -      2.9              2.9 
Dividends received in the year                           (7.8)        -            (7.8) 
------------------------------------------  ------------------  -------  --------------- 
As at 31 March 2022                                       40.3      9.4             49.7 
------------------------------------------  ------------------  -------  --------------- 
 
 
                              2022   2021 
                              GBPm   GBPm 
---------------------------  -----  ----- 
Revenues                      12.0   10.9 
Profit for the year            6.0    4.9 
---------------------------  -----  ----- 
Total comprehensive income     6.0    4.9 
---------------------------  -----  ----- 
 

The above information reflects the amounts presented in the financial statements of the joint venture and not the Group's share of those amounts. They have been amended for differences in accounting policies between the Group and the joint venture.

Dealer Auction Limited declared a dividend of GBP10.0m on 29 April 2021. The Group owns 49% of the ordinary share capital of Dealer Auction Limited and therefore received payment of GBP4.9m on 14 May 2021. Dealer Auction Limited also declared a dividend of GBP6.0m on 3 February 2022 and therefore GBP2.9m was received on 23 March 2022.

12. Borrowings

 
                                                        2022   2021 
Non-current                                             GBPm   GBPm 
-----------------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
Syndicated RCF gross of unamortised debt issue costs       -   30.0 
Unamortised debt issue costs on Syndicated RCF           -    (2.4) 
-----------------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
Total                                                      -   27.6 
-----------------------------------------------------  -----  ----- 
 

Unamortised debt issue costs on the Syndicated RCF, which are now within Prepayments in 2022, reduced to GBP1.4m in the year (2021: GBP2.4m) partly due to accelerated amortisation following the reduction of the Syndicated RCF commitments.

The Syndicated RCF is repayable as follows:

 
                     2022   2021 
                     GBPm   GBPm 
------------------  -----  ----- 
Two to five years       -   30.0 
------------------  -----  ----- 
Total                   -   30.0 
------------------  -----  ----- 
 

The carrying amounts of borrowings approximate their fair values.

Syndicated revolving credit facility ('Syndicated RCF')

The Group has access to an unsecured Syndicated RCF. Associated debt transaction costs total GBP4.3m, with GBP3.3m being incurred at initiation and GBP1.0m of additional costs associated with extension requests. The Syndicated RCF will terminate in two tranches as follows:

   --      GBP52.2m will mature at the original termination date of June 2023; and 
   --      GBP197.8m will mature in June 2025. 

With effect from 24 September 2021 the Group entered into an Amendment and Restatement Agreement to amend and restate the original Senior Facilities Agreement. The primary purpose of the Amended and Restated Senior Facilities Agreement is to incorporate LIBOR transition language to reflect the discontinuation of LIBOR and the transition to SONIA (in respect of sterling loans); Loan Market Association updates; and to include the effect of IFRS 16 for the purposes of calculating financial covenants.

The Group continues to be highly cash generative and remains in a net cash position, such that the size of the original GBP400m facility is not required. Therefore, the Group served notice to cancel GBP150m of the GBP400m total commitments under the Senior Facilities Agreement, such cancellation being pro-rated between the lenders. The Amended and Restated Senior Facilities Agreement incorporates the reduced total commitments of GBP250m.

Individual tranches are drawn down, in sterling, for periods of up to six months at the compounded reference rate (being the aggregate of SONIA and the applicable baseline credit adjustment spread for that interest period) plus a margin of between 1.2% and 2.1% depending on the consolidated leverage ratio of the Group. A commitment fee of 35% of the margin applicable to the Syndicated RCF is payable quarterly in arrears on unutilised amounts of the total facility.

The Syndicated RCF has financial covenants linked to interest cover and the consolidated debt cover of the Group:

   --      Net bank debt to EBITDA must not exceed 3.5:1. 
   --      EBITDA to Net Interest Payable must not be less than 3.0:1. 

EBITDA is defined as earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation, share-based payments and associated NI, share of profit from joint ventures and exceptional items.

All financial covenants of the facility have been complied with through the period.

Exposure to interest rate changes

The exposure of the Group's borrowings (excluding debt issue costs) to SONIA rate changes and the contractual repricing dates at the balance sheet date are as follows:

 
                     2022   2021 
                     GBPm   GBPm 
------------------  -----  ----- 
One month or less       -   30.0 
------------------  -----  ----- 
Total                   -   30.0 
------------------  -----  ----- 
 

13. Share capital

 
                                                    2022              2021 
--------------------------------------------  -----------------  --------------- 
                                                 Number  Amount   Number  Amount 
Share capital                                      '000    GBPm     '000    GBPm 
--------------------------------------------  ---------  ------  -------  ------ 
Allotted, called-up and fully paid ordinary 
 shares of 1p each 
At 1 April                                      969,024     9.7  922,541     9.2 
Purchase and cancellation of own shares        (22,198)   (0.2)        -       - 
Issue of shares                                      67     0.0   46,483     0.5 
--------------------------------------------  ---------  ------  -------  ------ 
Total                                           946,893     9.5  969,024     9.7 
--------------------------------------------  ---------  ------  -------  ------ 
 

In the year ended 31 March 2017, the Company commenced a share buyback programme. By resolutions passed at the 2021 AGM, the Company's shareholders generally authorised the Company to make market purchases of up to 96,678,535 of its ordinary shares, subject to minimum and maximum price restrictions. In the year ended 31 March 2022, a total of 24,915,813 ordinary shares of GBP0.01 were purchased. The average price paid was 656.3p with a total consideration paid (inclusive of all costs) of GBP164.3m. Of all shares purchased, 2,718,193 were held in treasury with 22,197,620 being cancelled. In the year ended 31 March 2022, 66,410 ordinary shares were issued for the settlement of share-based payments.

Included within shares in issue at 31 March 2022 are 358,158 (2021: 404,653) shares held by the ESOT and 3,826,928 (2021: 2,422,659) shares held in treasury, as detailed in note 14.

On 1 April 2020 the Company announced its intention to conduct a non-pre-emptive placing of up to 5% of its issued share capital. On 3 April 2020 the placing was completed, and a total of 46,468,300 new ordinary shares were allotted for a consideration of 400.00 pence per Placing Share, a discount of 8.9% to the closing share price of 439.1 pence on 31 March 2020. The placing raised gross proceeds of GBP185.9m for the Company, or GBP182.9m net of all fees incurred. An additional GBP0.3m of other fees were incurred as a result of the placing. Share premium of GBP182.4m has been recorded. On 3 April 2020, the Placing Shares were admitted to the premium listing segment of the Official List of the Financial Conduct Authority and to trading on the main market for listed securities of London Stock Exchange plc (together, 'Admission').

14. Own shares held

 
                                      ESOT shares     Treasury 
                                          reserve       shares        Total 
Own shares held - GBPm                       GBPm         GBPm         GBPm 
------------------------------------  -----------  -----------  ----------- 
Own shares held as at 1 April 2020          (0.7)       (17.2)       (17.9) 
Transfer of shares from ESOT                  0.2            -          0.2 
Share-based incentives exercised                -          7.0          7.0 
------------------------------------  -----------  -----------  ----------- 
Own shares held as at 31 March 2021         (0.5)       (10.2)       (10.7) 
------------------------------------  -----------  -----------  ----------- 
 
Own shares held as at 1 April 2021          (0.5)       (10.2)       (10.7) 
Transfer of shares from ESOT                  0.1            -          0.1 
Purchase of own shares for treasury             -       (17.8)       (17.8) 
Share-based incentives exercised                -          6.0          6.0 
------------------------------------  -----------  -----------  ----------- 
Own shares held as at 31 March 2022         (0.4)       (22.0)       (22.4) 
------------------------------------  -----------  -----------  ----------- 
 
                                                                      Total 
                                      ESOT shares     Treasury       number 
                                          reserve       shares           of 
                                           Number       Number   own shares 
Own shares held - number                of shares    of shares         held 
------------------------------------  -----------  -----------  ----------- 
Own shares held as at 1 April 2020        523,955    4,090,996    4,614,951 
Transfer of shares from ESOT            (119,302)            -    (119,302) 
Share-based incentives exercised                -  (1,668,337)  (1,668,337) 
------------------------------------  -----------  -----------  ----------- 
Own shares held as at 31 March 2021       404,653    2,422,659    2,827,312 
------------------------------------  -----------  -----------  ----------- 
 
 
                                                                      Total 
                                      ESOT shares     Treasury       number 
                                          reserve       shares           of 
                                           Number       Number   own shares 
Own shares held - number                of shares    of shares         held 
------------------------------------  -----------  -----------  ----------- 
Own shares held as at 1 April 2021        404,653    2,422,659    2,827,312 
Transfer of shares from ESOT             (46,495)            -     (46,495) 
Purchase of own shares for treasury             -    2,718,193    2,718,193 
Share-based incentives exercised                -  (1,313,924)  (1,313,924) 
------------------------------------  -----------  -----------  ----------- 
Own shares held as at 31 March 2022       358,158    3,826,928    4,185,086 
------------------------------------  -----------  -----------  ----------- 
 

15. Dividends

Dividends declared and paid by the Company were as follows:

 
                                   2022              2021 
---------------------------  ----------------  ---------------- 
                                  Pence             Pence 
                              per share  GBPm   per share  GBPm 
---------------------------  ----------  ----  ----------  ---- 
2021 final dividend paid            5.0  48.0           -     - 
2022 interim dividend paid          2.7  25.6           -     - 
---------------------------  ----------  ----  ----------  ---- 
                                    7.7  73.6           -     - 
---------------------------  ----------  ----  ----------  ---- 
 

The proposed final dividend for the year ended 31 March 2022 of 5.5p per share, totalling GBP51.9m, is subject to approval by shareholders at the Annual General Meeting ('AGM') and hence has not been included as a liability in the financial statements.

16. Cash generated from operations

 
                                                              2022    2021 
                                                              GBPm    GBPm 
-----------------------------------------------------------  -----  ------ 
Profit after tax                                             244.7   127.8 
Adjustments for: 
  Tax charge                                                  56.3    29.6 
  Depreciation                                                 4.6     3.7 
  Amortisation                                                 2.6     2.6 
  Share-based payments charge (excluding associated NI)        5.1     3.3 
  Share of profit from joint ventures                        (2.9)   (2.4) 
  Loss / (profit) on sale of property, plant and equipment       -     0.2 
  Difference between pension charge and cash contributions       -     0.2 
  Finance costs                                                2.6     3.8 
  RDEC                                                       (0.1)   (0.1) 
 
Changes in working capital (excluding the effects of 
 exchange differences on consolidation): 
  Trade and other receivables                                (5.3)   (3.6) 
  Trade and other payables                                    20.5  (12.3) 
  Provisions                                                     -     0.1 
-----------------------------------------------------------  -----  ------ 
Cash generated from operations                               328.1   152.9 
-----------------------------------------------------------  -----  ------ 
 

17. Commitment to acquire Autorama (UK) Limited

The Group has agreed to acquire, subject to regulatory approvals which at the date of this report had not all been received, the share capital of Autorama (UK) Limited. The transaction is expected to complete in the first half of financial year 2023. Auto Trader will pay initial consideration of GBP150m in cash, with a further GBP50m of deferred consideration to be settled in shares subject to customary performance conditions 12 months after the completion date. Once issued, the shares will vest over a period of two years in two 12-month instalments. At 31 December 2021, Autorama had GBP27m of gross assets and for the calendar year 2021, made net revenue of GBP26m, selling c.14,500 vehicles and had an EBITDA loss of GBP6m, which included marketing costs of over GBP9m.

Principal risks and uncertainties

 
 Risk                         POTENTIAL IMPACT           CHANGES IN THE YEAR 
                             --------------------------  ------------------------------------------------------------- 
 1.                           Adverse economic           There remains a global shortage of semi-conductors which is 
 Economy, market and          conditions could lead to   having an adverse impact on production 
 business environment         shrinking of the used      for many vehicle brands. This has resulted in a shortage of 
                              and/or new car market,     new car stock which dealers have 
                              available                  available to advertise. Furthermore, the current new car 
                              used car stock, and        shortage is likely to result, in 
                              reduction in retailer      the coming years, in a reduction in used car stock. 
                              wallets.                   Nevertheless, during the last year, we 
                                                         saw that consumer sentiment towards vehicle ownership remains 
                              These could result in      strong, and we saw the average 
                              reduced retailer           price of a used car increase 22% year-on-year. 
                              profitability, leading to 
                              a fall in advertising      In the wake of COVID-19 and other ongoing events (including 
                              spend                      the conflict in Ukraine), inflation 
                              or a contraction in the    is resulting in a sharp rise in the cost of living. This 
                              number of retailers. It    increase in the cost of living has 
                              could also lead to a       the potential to be a catalyst for changes in the ownership 
                              reduction in               model of vehicles, potentially 
                              manufacturers'             with a lower volume of vehicles per household. 
                              spend on digital display 
                              advertising.               We have been proactive in mitigating the threat of changes in 
                                                         how consumers might look to 
                              In addition, we are        buy a new car. Most notably, our acquisition of Autorama 
                              seeing an increasing       (subject to regulatory approval) 
                              appetite by OEMS to move   will help us remain relevant if more buyers opt for a lease. 
                              to an agency model 
                              whereby                    As previously noted, we are making significant progress with 
                              sales are made direct to   our digital retailing strategy 
                              consumers, rather than     which aims to bring more of the car buying journey online by 
                              via retailers. This could  allowing consumers to reserve, 
                              lead to a loss of          part exchange, and access finance via our website. 
                              revenue from retailers. 
                                                         The ongoing challenges in the supply chain, the global and UK 
                                                         economy, and customer and consumer 
                                                         sentiment have all contributed to increased risk in this 
                                                         area, which we expect to continue 
                                                         in the coming year. 
                             --------------------------  ------------------------------------------------------------- 
 2. Climate change            The impacts of climate     We have seen over the last year an accelerated demand for EVs 
                              change are emerging as a   which can be attributed, at 
                              significant threat to the  least in part, to the Government ban on new petrol and diesel 
                              long-term resilience       cars by 2030, as well as increased 
                              of our business and        awareness of climate change amongst the general public, 
                              execution of our           spikes in fuel prices during 2021 
                              strategy.                  and 2022, and improved EV charging infrastructure. 
 
                              Externally, regulatory     We believe that further regulation and legislation relating 
                              and legislative changes,   to climate and the environment 
                              and consumers'             are likely, as are changes in consumer demand. Key to our 
                              environmental concerns,    strategic objectives is positioning 
                              are                        Auto Trader as front-runners in industry-wide changes 
                              having an impact on the    prompted by climate change. 
                              automotive market, 
                              including an accelerated   A move to EVs could mean that OEMs alter their business model 
                              demand for electric        to sell direct to consumers. 
                              vehicles                   As the second-hand market moves steadily towards newer 
                              (EVs). Additionally, the   electric models, our customers will 
                              impacts of climate change  have to evolve their forecourt mix accordingly. 
                              on key stakeholders, 
                              including our employees,   The growing demand for electric vehicles and the continued 
                              suppliers, and customers,  advancement of technology and improved 
                              pose a threat to our       infrastructure could change the vehicle ownership model. 
                              business resilience (see   Consumer demand for short-term access 
                              "External catastrophic     to cars as and when they need them could increase, including 
                              events" for details).      through subscription deals and 
                                                         car-sharing apps. 
                              Internally, risks arising 
                              from our own impact on     Subject to regulatory approval, our acquisition of Autorama 
                              the climate are growing.   adds digital retailing and leasing 
                              Our strategic objectives   capabilities on new cars, including EVs. 
                              include a move towards 
                              net-zero emissions, and    Overall, we consider the risks associated with climate change 
                              failure to achieve this    to be increasing, and managing 
                              in a timely manner         these risks effectively is one of our key strategic pillars. 
                              could impact adversely on 
                              our ability to operate 
                              and/or remain relevant to 
                              our customers and 
                              consumers. Failure to 
                              deliver our environmental 
                              commitments would 
                              undermine our reputation 
                              as a responsible business 
                              and may result in legal 
                              exposure or regulatory 
                              sanctions. 
                             --------------------------  ------------------------------------------------------------- 
 3.                           To enable us to achieve    Our Glassdoor rating based on anonymous reviews is 4.5 out of 
  Employees                   our strategic objectives   5. 
                              it is important that we 
                              attract, retain,           In 2021 our workforce was mostly working remotely, although 
                              and motivate a highly      our offices remained open at a 
                              skilled workforce,         reduced capacity for those who were unable to work at home 
                              including those with       safely and effectively. We adhered 
                              specialist skillsets in    to all relevant government guidance regarding COVID-19 
                              data                       protocols and kept employees updated 
                              and technology.            on any changes to the guidance during the year. 
 
                              Delivery of our strategy   In March 2022 we began Connected Working where guidance to 
                              is also dependent on us    employees was to be "in more than 
                              building a diverse and     you are out". This aimed to bring our employees into the 
                              inclusive workforce,       office to increase collaboration 
                              and a supportive,          and innovation. We continue to monitor the impact connected 
                              collaborative culture, in  working is having on engagement, 
                              a safe environment, all    inclusion, employee safety, and productivity, with reference 
                              of which will enable       to both pandemic and pre-pandemic 
                              optimum                    levels. 
                              performance from all our 
                              employees.                 The recent increases in costs of living, and skills shortages 
                                                         in the market, could expose 
                              Risks relating to          us to the risk of heightened workforce costs. We are 
                              employees could result in  monitoring the market proactively to 
                              reduced employee           ensure that our salaries are fair, proportionate, and aligned 
                              engagement, reduced        to market rates. 
                              productivity, 
                              and loss of key talent,    In the marketplace, we are also seeing employees having 
                              all of which could         higher expectations of their employers 
                              adversely impact on        to act in a fair, responsible and sustainable manner, and we 
                              business performance.      too are committed to ensuring 
                                                         that we conduct our business in a morally responsible way. 
---------------------------  --------------------------  ------------------------------------------------------------- 
 4.                           We rely on third parties   We have performed a review of our critical suppliers and have 
  Reliance on third parties   to support our technology  revised our processes for supplier 
                              infrastructure, supply of  onboarding and monitoring thereafter. Despite the threats 
                              data about vehicles        posed to our suppliers in the external 
                              and their financing, and   environment, we have not experienced any material 
                              in the fulfilment of some  disruptions. 
                              of our revenue generating 
                              products. Consequently,    As we progress further into digital retailing we are likely 
                              it is important that we    to see an increased reliance on 
                              manage relationships       third parties, including physical services to support our 
                              with, and performance of,  online journeys. Ensuring that we 
                              key suppliers. If these    manage these third parties appropriately will be crucial. 
                              suppliers were to suffer 
                              significant downtime or    Within our crisis management and business continuity 
                              fail, this could lead to   arrangements, we have identified key 
                              a loss of revenue          suppliers and have plans in place to respond to disruption. 
                              from retailer customers 
                              and a loss of audience     Whilst we have not experienced any material risks crystallise 
                              due to impaired consumer   in respect of our reliance on 
                              experience.                third parties, we consider there to be an increasing trend in 
                                                         the risks associated with them 
                                                         as we progress towards achieving our strategic objectives. 
---------------------------  --------------------------  ------------------------------------------------------------- 
 5.                           As a digital business, we  We have made significant progress in migrating our 
  IT systems and              rely on our IT             applications to the cloud, which increases 
  cyber security              infrastructure to          the resilience of our systems and the security of our data. 
                              continue to operate. A     Our aim is to get all applications 
                              disruptive                 migrated to the cloud in the next year. 
                              event leading to 
                              significant downtime of    Our connected working policy began in March 2022, where 
                              our existing systems and   employees are working both on- and 
                              IT infrastructure would    off-site. Under this policy, we are still exposed to data and 
                              cause a major              cyber-security risks associated 
                              interruption to the        with remote working. We continue to monitor the level of risk 
                              services we provide.       and implement mitigations. 
 
                              As we progress through     As we move further along the digital retailing journey, our 
                              delivery of our digital    exposure to a cyber attack and 
                              retailing strategy, it is  the impact of a data breach is likely to increase. As part of 
                              crucial that we invest     our plans for digital retailing 
                              in appropriate IT systems  we are identifying the systems which will provide the best 
                              to enable us to deliver    customer and consumer experience, 
                              the services needed, as    as well as ensuring that there is all necessary security over 
                              well as ensuring           these systems to ensure they 
                              that there is appropriate  are resilient to the threats of cyber-attack. 
                              IT and cyber security 
                              safeguards over these      The constantly evolving threat of a cyber-attack means that 
                              systems. Failure to        overall the risk level is unchanged. 
                              invest in appropriate IT 
                              and safeguards could lead  We have adopted the NIST Cybersecurity Framework with the aim 
                              to us failing to achieve   of reducing our exposure to 
                              our objectives             cyberattacks, and to identify the area's most at risk for 
                              relating to digital        data breaches and other compromising 
                              retailing.                 activity perpetrated by cyber criminals. 
 
                              Delivery of our strategic 
                              objectives also relies on 
                              us using data to provide 
                              valuable insights 
                              to customers. A 
                              significant data breach, 
                              whether because of our 
                              own failures or a 
                              malicious 
                              cyber-attack, would lead 
                              to a loss in confidence 
                              by the public, car 
                              retailers and 
                              advertisers. 
 
                              This could result in 
                              reputational damage, loss 
                              of audience, loss of 
                              revenue and potential 
                              financial losses in the 
                              form of penalties. 
---------------------------  --------------------------  ------------------------------------------------------------- 
 6.                           Failure to develop and     We continue to focus on developing new products in both our 
 Failure to innovate:         implement new products,    core business and in respect of 
 disruptive technologies      services, and              our digital retailing strategy. Doing so will enable more of 
 and changing consumer        technologies, and/or       the car-buying process to be 
 behaviours                   failure                    completed online. 
                              to adapt to changing 
                              consumer behaviour         Central to our strategy is launching digital retailing on our 
                              towards car buying and     platform and we are continuing 
                              ownership, could lead to   to develop and test new products to ensure that they maximise 
                              us                         value for customers and consumers. 
                              failing to deliver our 
                              strategic objectives.      Our acquisition of Autorama (subject to regulatory approval) 
                              Failure to provide both    will enable us to respond to 
                              customers and consumers    changing consumer behaviours, including in respect of an 
                              with the best possible     increasing trend towards leasing 
                              products and online        of new EVs. 
                              journey, including an 
                              online buying experience,  In the last year we have launched new innovations including 
                              could lead to reduced      Market Extension, which enhances 
                              website traffic and loss   the reach of retailers whereby they can advertise stock 
                              of revenue.                within selected locations in the UK, 
                                                         meaning they no longer need to be constrained by their 
                                                         geographical location. 
 
                                                         We also enhanced our package offerings with two new package 
                                                         levels which focussed on providing 
                                                         customers with new ways of gaining prominence in the search 
                                                         listings. 
 
                                                         Our existing products were enhanced through our Retailer 
                                                         Stores innovation, which enabled 
                                                         retailers to create a bespoke brand destination on the Auto 
                                                         Trader platform, helping to drive 
                                                         buyer engagement around both the retailer's stock and their 
                                                         brand. 
---------------------------  --------------------------  ------------------------------------------------------------- 
 7.                           The Group operates in a    Our strategic focus area to bring more of the car buying 
  Regulatory risks            complex regulatory         journey online has the potential 
                              environment. There is a    to increase the Group's exposure to regulatory risks, in 
                              risk that the Group, or    particular the amount of personal 
                              its subsidiaries, fail to  information that will be collected and in the execution of 
                              comply with these          the online finance application 
                              requirements or to         journey. 
                              respond to changes in 
                              regulations,               As we move further into digital retailing and following the 
                              including GDPR and the     acquisition of Autorama (subject 
                              Financial Conduct          to approvals), in the future we are likely to be exposed to 
                              Authority's rules and      increased risks in relation to 
                              guidance. This could lead  FCA and GDPR. 
                              to 
                              reputational damage,       In the last year, in both response to, and anticipation of, 
                              financial or criminal      changes in regulatory risk, we 
                              penalties and impact on    have increased our resource in relation to risk and 
                              our ability to do          compliance monitoring, and increased headcount 
                              business.                  in our Governance Risk and Compliance tribe. Overall, we 
                                                         consider the level of risk unchanged. 
---------------------------  --------------------------  ------------------------------------------------------------- 
 8.                           There are several online   Data insights suggest that competitors are not taking 
  Competition                 competitors in the         significant market share. For example, 
                              automotive classified      our data shows that we have c.90% prompted brand awareness 
                              market, and alternative    with consumers. We also maintained 
                              routes for consumers to    our position as the UK's largest and most engaged automotive 
                              sell cars, such as car     marketplace for new and used 
                              buying services or         cars, with over 75% of all minutes spent on automotive 
                              part-exchange. If          classified sites spent on Auto Trader. 
                              competitors                Nevertheless, the competitive landscape continues to develop, 
                              develop a superior         with low barriers to entry to 
                              consumer experience or     the market. Previous concerns, however, over big players 
                              superior retailer          entering the market, such as Facebook, 
                              products, we may lose our  have not led to any notable decrease in our market share over 
                              market                     the last year, albeit we do 
                              share. Competitors could   still consider this to be a threat. It therefore remains 
                              also influence change in   imperative that we are innovative 
                              consumer focus, expand     in both our strategic initiatives as well as improving our 
                              their range of stock       existing, core advertising business. 
                              and provide 
                              products/services we are   We continue to see retailers and manufacturers evolving their 
                              unable to compete with.    online offerings, and as we 
                                                         diversify our own product offering we broaden our competitive 
                                                         landscape, potentially leading 
                                                         to exposure to increased competition. 
---------------------------  --------------------------  ------------------------------------------------------------- 
 9. Brand and reputation      Our brand is one of our    Our research shows that Auto Trader has c.90% prompted brand 
                              biggest assets. Our        awareness with consumers. We 
                              research shows that we     are also voted regularly as the most influential automotive 
                              are the most trusted       website by consumers in the car 
                              automotive                 buying process. 
                              classified brand in the    As we venture further with our digital retailing strategy, we 
                              UK.                        will need to ensure that our 
                                                         branding positions us as the most suitable place to transact 
                              Failure to maintain and    online. 
                              protect our brand, or 
                              negative publicity         We continue to see very low levels of fraudulent and 
                              affecting our reputation,  misleading adverts, due to additional 
                              such as from a data        measures and monitoring techniques used by our security team. 
                              breach, could diminish     We also make use of a customer 
                              the confidence that        watch list which aims to manage our platforms proactively in 
                              retailers, consumers and   line with our values and relevant 
                              advertisers                regulations, to identify and stop customer behaviour that 
                              have in our products and   could harm consumers, retailers 
                              services, and result in a  or the Auto Trader brand. 
                              reduction in audience and 
                              revenue.                   Overall, we consider there to be a decreasing risk to our 
                                                         brand and reputation. 
---------------------------  --------------------------  ------------------------------------------------------------- 
 10. External catastrophic    In a connected, global           The impacts of unpreventable external catastrophic and 
 and geo-political events     industry, we are                 geo-political events can be widespread 
                              increasingly prone to the        and long-lasting for us and our customers. We consider 
                              impacts of external              the increasingly connected world to 
                              events                           be more susceptible than ever to the knock-on impacts 
                              around the globe on our          of these events. 
                              business, as are our 
                              customers. We consider           Examples of some external events in recent times which 
                              there to be a threat to          have, and continue to, impact adversely 
                              the short-to-mid-term            on our business include the following: 
                              performance of our                *    COVID-19 pandemic; 
                              business posed by 
                              external, unpreventable, 
                              catastrophic                      *    Supply shortages from the Suez Canal obstruction; 
                              and geo-political events. 
                              Such events could result 
                              in our customers being            *    Brexit; 
                              unable to trade, 
                              leading to loss of 
                              revenue, stock, audience,         *    Military conflict in Ukraine; 
                              and loss of market share. 
 
                                                                *    Extreme weather events; and 
 
 
                                                                *    Global semi-conductor shortage. 
 
 
 
                                                               It is of paramount importance to the resilience of our 
                                                               business that we can anticipate, and 
                                                               respond quickly to, the impacts of external events, 
                                                               particularly those which impact on our 
                                                               customers adversely. We are therefore continuously 
                                                               reviewing our business continuity and crisis 
                                                               management arrangements to ensure that they consider 
                                                               the impacts of external events. 
 
                                                               We have responded well to the impacts of COVID-19 and 
                                                               the government has removed most restrictions. 
                                                               We therefore consider that the threat posed by external 
                                                               catastrophic and geo-political events 
                                                               to be decreasing compared to last year. Nevertheless, 
                                                               we remain wary of the threats posed 
                                                               by external events and we continue to review our crisis 
                                                               and business continuity arrangements 
                                                               regularly. 
---------------------------  --------------------------  ------------------------------------------------------------- 
 

This information is provided by RNS, the news service of the London Stock Exchange. RNS is approved by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a Primary Information Provider in the United Kingdom. Terms and conditions relating to the use and distribution of this information may apply. For further information, please contact rns@lseg.com or visit www.rns.com.

RNS may use your IP address to confirm compliance with the terms and conditions, to analyse how you engage with the information contained in this communication, and to share such analysis on an anonymised basis with others as part of our commercial services. For further information about how RNS and the London Stock Exchange use the personal data you provide us, please see our Privacy Policy.

END

FR DELFLLELLBBD

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 26, 2022 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT)

1 Year Auto Trader Chart

1 Year Auto Trader Chart

1 Month Auto Trader Chart

1 Month Auto Trader Chart
ADVFN Advertorial
Your Recent History
LSE
AUTO
Auto Trade..
Register now to watch these stocks streaming on the ADVFN Monitor.

Monitor lets you view up to 110 of your favourite stocks at once and is completely free to use.

Log in to ADVFN
Register Now

By accessing the services available at ADVFN you are agreeing to be bound by ADVFN's Terms & Conditions

P: V:gb D:20220929 08:14:01