Lookers has hit a new record for its first-half underlying profits with £50.3 million in the first half of 2021. In the same period last year, when the Covid pandemic struck, the group recorded an underlying loss of £36.1m.

The franchised dealer group has also appointed a new non-executive chairman and new CFO.

Revenue for the first half of the year was £2.15 billion, up from £1.57bn in 2020.

The latest results include £12.7m of government Covid support, however, they intend to repay £4.1m of CJRS grants before the end of this year. Lookers added it would resume dividend payments as soon as possible and will next review the position when it’s full-year figures are out.

The new chief financial officer is Oliver Laird who takes over on 15 November. Since 2017, Mr Laird has been CFO at CPP Group plc, the listed multinational financial services business. Previously he was finance director with First Direct Bank, Cooperative Insurance and UK General Insurance. He brings an in-depth understanding of the provision of financial services to retail customers.

The previous CFO Anna Beilby, who held the role on an interim basis, left in July. 

Taking over from outgoing non-exec chairman Phil White on 1 October is Ian Bull. A spokesman for Lookers said: “Ian is currently senior independent director at Domino’s Pizza Group and a non-executive director at Dunelm Group. In both roles Ian Chairs the audit committee.”

Mr Bull was most recently CFO at Parkdean Holidays and prior to that CFO at Ladbrokes and Greene King.

Commenting on the results Mark Raban, chief executive officer, said:

“We have delivered a record performance in H1 despite significant Covid-19 related disruption. Demand has continued to be strong as we see a sustained preference for car-based travel amongst consumers. We have been able to capture this demand and outperform the market through continued improvements to our omni-channel customer experience. This allows customers to purchase cars with us however they wish.

“The rapid growth of electric vehicles continues apace. We are well positioned to maximise this exciting growth opportunity alongside our other strategic growth pillars. Whilst we are mindful of various short-term pressures, particularly around supply, with a refreshed Board, a restructured business and an enhanced digital proposition, there is much to look forward to.”

The results for January to June were in line with expectations after the group issued a trading statement two months ago.