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Lookers to Expand Premium Car Sales Range to Include BMW, Mini

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Aug. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Lookers Plc, a U.K. car dealership and parts supplier, said it wants to start selling BMWs, including the Mini range, after new car sales jumped in the first six months and the company is set for a record profit.

“We’re probably still slightly underweight on premium brands,” Chief Executive Officer Peter Jones said today in a phone interview. “The only brands we are looking to add are BMW and Mini, it’s a hole in our portfolio so that would be a priority for us.” He said Bayerische Motoren Werke AG models, including the Mini, take up 8 percent of the U.K. market.

The company today reported revenue of 1.03 billion pounds ($1.62 billion), in the six months to June, up 3.1 percent from the same period last year, according to a regulatory statement. New car sales increased 11 percent, 2.3 percent ahead of the U.K. market average, according the statement. The company held 25.8 million pounds in cash at the end of the period.

“We’ve a lot of headroom to buy the right things in the right location,” Jones said. “We’re fortunate, the balance sheet is the strongest it’s been for many years.”

Profit per unit on new cars increased 11 percent. The dealer has seen sales of prestige brands, such as those made by Jaguar Land Rover Plc, Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz, and Audi AG, took off in the last six months, according to Jones.

“We’re performing well into a headwind really, we’re set for a fourth year of record profits in what most people see as a lousy market,” Jones said. Shares jumped as much as 4.12 percent to 69.5 pence, the highest price in 14 months, in London trading today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sofia Horta e Costa in London at shortaecosta@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Douglas Lytle at dlytle@bloomberg.net

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