Pendragon PLC (LON:PDG) warned losses in 2019 will be at the bottom-end of market forecasts as the core car dealership business struggled in the final quarter.
It marks a downbeat end to a traumatic year that saw a huge interim loss and the departure of chief executive Mark Herbert after less than three months in charge.
The sector has also been hit by a slowdown in new car sales and a crackdown on personal contract purchase (PCP) loans.
Pendragon said its performance had improved significantly in the second-half following the closure of 22 locations, but the difficult consumer environment had affected the franchised businesses of Evans Halshaw and Stratstone.
Car Store, Leasing, Pinewood and the US Motor divisions all performed in line with expectations.
Broker Liberum said it now expects losses to be around its forecast of £18.6mln as it was already at the bottom of consensus numbers.
“Pendragon remains our least preferred stock in the sector, given its high operational and financial gearing and the need for material business change in a tough trading environment,” said the broker.
Liberum’s target price is 9p and its rating ‘sell’.
Shares fell 3% to 11.2p.