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Donnelly Group predicts 30% fall in new car market in Northern Ireland due to EVs

Donnelly Group saw pre-tax profits fall by 10.2% to £5.3m last year and is predicting a dampening of the new car market due to electric vehicles (EV).

The Northern Ireland-based group posted its account for 2022 to Companies House and reported a 4.5% drop in turnover to £252 million and an operating profit performance that was down by 12% to £5.7m.

Despite the drop in performance, the group’s directors described 2022 as a “very satisfactory year” despite the challanges on vehicle supply, consumer demand and diifficult economic conditions.

The business has multiple locations across Northern Ireland and represents 16 brands including Jaguar, Land Rover, Volkswagen, Suzuki, Vauxhall, Toyota, Citroen and Peugeot.

The directors said: “While reported net profit showed a decline of £600,000 compared with 2021, when adjusted for one off supports in 2021 underlying trading profit improved by 10% year-on-year”.

The group also saw a further reduction in bank debt of £3.3m and an overall net debt reduction of £5.8m in 2022.

NI charging infrastructure “not at the level required”

The directors are predicting a difficult 2023, particularly due to the fact the pace of rollout for charging infrastructure in Northern Ireland “is not at the level required to support technology transition”.

In a statement included in the company’s annual accounts, the director said: “We consider alternative fuel technology will dampen the overall demand for new vehicles and the the market in Northern Ireland in the medium term will be 30% lower than histroical trends.

“We expect 2023 to be a challenging year, with supply contraints and shortage of available used stock as a consequence continuing to dampen the market already impacted by the economic impact of high inflation and rising interest rates.”

With all this said, the directors said they are “confident the business can continnue to demonstrate its resilience and adapt to the market”.

Profitabiltiy in the first four trading months of 2023 “is in line with group expectations”.

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