Ashok Leyland increases stake in Optare

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Ashok Leyland has increased its shareholding in Optare to 99.08%, from 98.31%, in order to reduce the company’s debt burden.

In a consolidated income statement for the year ended 31 March 2018, Optare’s net debt had reduced from £54.08m to £14.71m. Optare made a £14.71m loss for the financial year, which was a reduction from £15.72m the previous year, including a £4.3m impairment of goodwill. Optare President, Graham Belgum, attributed this loss to a drop in UK volume, investment in exports and electric vehicle development.

Revenue fell to £26.87m from £34.96m, but gross profit increased to £4.3m from £2.7m, with the new figure representing 16% of turnover as opposed to 7.7% the previous year.

In his Chairman’s statement, John Fickling said the company would focus on increasing sales of the Solo, Versa, Metrocity and Metrodecker in the UK in 2018/19, with a specific focus on electric product. He also said the company will focus on increasing export sales of the Solo, Metrocity and Tempo and target profitable growth of the parts division of the business in the UK.