Donnelly Group recorded four-fold rise in profits in 2021

Donnelly Group managing director, Dave Sheeran.

CAR retail chain the Donnelly Group recorded a four-fold rise in profits during 2021, despite the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns and supply chain problems.

Accounts filed by the Dungannon-based company show a significant cut in its workforce during the pandemic.

The group had 527 staff on its books in 2021, 265 down on the 792 from 2019.

The Donnelly Group showed an improving picture for its finances, with turnover for the 12 months to December 31 2021 up five per cent on 2020 to £264.4m.

Reflecting the impact of the pandemic and shortages in the supply chain, turnover remained around £50m down on pre-pandemic levels in 2018 and 2019.

But after two unprofitable years in the lead up to the pandemic, Donnelly Group was back in the black for both 2020 and 2021.

The car retailer saw pre-tax profits rise almost 300 per cent from £1.5m in 2020 to £5.9m for 2021.

The past two years were the worst on record for the north’s new car dealers.

Just 36,616 new cars were registered in Northern Ireland during the whole of 2021.

That was just 425 more than in 2020, which the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said was the worst on record for the car industry here.

Donnelly Group managing director, Dave Sheeran, said the directors were “extremely satisfied” with the latest financial results.

“The significant profit increase recorded is largely owing to the robust planning strategy implemented by the company in response to the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.

“We are confident that Donnelly Group and its subsidiaries will continue to demonstrate resilience and successfully navigate the challenges facing the automotive industry.

“In line with Donnelly Group’s business development plans we have embarked on a three-year strategic plan which takes into consideration current market dynamics and will position the company to exploit further growth opportunities.”

Last year saw the group relocate its Honda franchise to a new facility on Boucher Road, while a new site was acquired in Bangor for Citroen and Motorstore.

“These developments serve to further strengthen Donnelly Group’s relationship with our manufacturing partners and will undoubtedly prove integral to our ongoing and future success,” said Mr Sheeran.

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