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Turners lifts annual profit 14% on sales growth, considers 'opportunities'

Turners Auctions, the country's biggest auction house, boosted annual profit 14 percent as it lifted car sales. The company says it is holding off making a special return while it looks at "growth opportunities".

Net profit rose to an expected $4.2 million, or 15.4 cents per share, in the 12 months ended December 31, from $3.7 million, or 13.5 cents, a year earlier, the Auckland-based company says in a statement.

Sales rose 3.7 percent to $78.2 million, with a 2 percent gain in used car sales to 928,595.

The company's board declared a fully-imputed final dividend of 8 cents per share, up from 6 cents a year earlier, and taking the total payment to 15 cents, but won't pay a special dividend like last year.

The shares were unchanged at $2.11 and have rallied 14 percent this year.

"The directors have elected not to declare a special dividend this year because the group is currently considering a number of growth opportunities which may require investment," the company says.

Turners held $13.9 million in cash and equivalents as at December 31.

The auction house upgraded its forecast earnings in January after reporting a 19 percent lift in first-half profit as Christchurch trading conditions returned to normal.

The company says it is "cautiously optimistic" for a further recovery in the domestic economy, and sees a pick-up in imported car sales as the kiwi dollar remains strong.

New car sales jumped 20 percent to 76,871 and new commercial vehicle sales climbed 18 percent to 20,164.

The company, which also provides finance for buyers at its car auctions, increased the size of its loan book 10 percent to $21.4 million as at December 31.

(BusinessDesk)