- Automotive distributor Inchcape launched a £100 million share buyback programme after swinging to a profit in the first half as higher margins and the ongoing cost cuts offset the loss on the sale of part of its retail operations in Russia.

For the half year ended June 30, pre-tax profit was £61 million compared with a loss of £188 million year-on-year, while revenue rose 30% to £3.9 billion.

The company declared a dividend of 6.4 pence a share.

'Looking ahead, whilst there continues to be a high level of uncertainty, both in terms of the pandemic and widely reported issues relating to supply, we expect that the strong first half performance - which in part reflected pent-up demand - will underpin our full year results and expect to deliver FY21 profit before tax of at least £260m,' the company said.

Inchcape also said it had entered into a partnership with Geely Auto, a China-based automobile manufacturer. The partnership, launched with a market distribution agreement for Chile, will be a long-term relationship that will be developed on a country-by-country basis, the company said. 'We look forward to working with Geely to deliver high-tech and high-value-add vehicles that benefit from their strengths in automotive design, intelligent manufacturing, R&D and quality control,' it added.

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