March 7, 2018 / 9:47 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-British car dealer Lookers reports profit rise, buyback

(Adds details, background)

March 7 (Reuters) - Lookers Plc, Britain’s largest car dealer, reported a 2.7 percent rise in annual profit on Wednesday despite the overall new car market shrinking for the first time since 2011.

Adjusted operating profit rose to 84.7 million pounds ($117.6 million) for the year that ended Dec. 31 on turnover up 14.9 percent to 4.7 billion pounds.

It also announced a share buyback plan of up to 10 million pounds.

Lookers shares were up 0.9 percent at 94 pence as of 0931 GMT.

The company, which sells vehicles for major brands including Volkswagen, Ford and BMW, said new car turnover rose 12 percent, used cars turnover rose by 19 percent and aftermarket sales rose 16 percent.

The company said it expects new car volumes to fall in the first quarter of 2018 given a strong year-earlier quarter ahead of changes in Vehicle Excise Duty which went into effect in April 2017.

Lookers said its order book for the delivery of new cars in March was in line with its expectations and forecast its first quarter would also meet management’s expectations.

It expects to boost its market share in the retail new car segment in 2018. Its share rose to just over 6 percent in 2017 from 5.5 percent a year earlier.

$1 = 0.7203 pounds Reporting by Rahul B and Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Jason Neely

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