Bumper profits pass the test for NCT operator

Increased failures in the National Car Test last year contributed to bumper profits at the Spanish firm operating the test increasing by 11.5% to €4.9m.

Figures show the 1.78m NCTs last year resulted in a multimillion-euro bonanza for Barcelona firm Applus.

According to accounts filed with the Companies Office, Applus last year enjoyed the full-year effects of a 10% price hike in the NCT and 184,000 extra tests to help boost profits and revenues.

Applus Car Testing Service Ltd performed over 1.78m NCTs and retests, and, in the process, chalked up revenues of €64.2m — or more than €1.23m per week.

Revenues increased by 11.5% from €57.6m to €64.28m, with the increase attributable not only to the full-year effect of a 10% price hike introduced in February 2012 but also to an extra 184,363 tests completed last year.

The 1.78m tests and retests in 2013 represents an 11.5% increase on the 1.6m tests and retests completed in 2012. A factor behind the increased number of tests was the fail rate rising from 51.3% in 2012 to 53% last year. The amount of retests — which accounted for 34.4% of all tests, up on 33.2% in 2012 — increased by 81,449. The main failure items last year were front suspension, tyre condition, and brake line/hoses.

The number of tests and retests this year is set to surpass last year, with 1.58m completed between January and the end of September. The fail rate has fallen to 51.1% in the period.

The price of an NCT is €55 and a retest costs €28 — 90.6% of all retests passed last year.

The NCT was introduced in 2000 on foot of an EU directive and Applus secured the 10-year contract for the NCT in 2009, commencing testing in January 2010.

The success of the contract last year contributed to the firm paying a €4.4m dividend.

Applus today provides the NCT from 46 centres across the country, and, according to its directors’ report for 2013, the number of vehicles tested last year was ahead of the company’s 10-year business plan in 2013. Productivity has improved marginally on 2012, they said.

Figures show another major contributor to the rise in pre-tax profits was the firm’s net finance income last year totalling €288,380 compared to €104,070 in 2012.

Applus’s operating profits last year increased by 7%, from €3.93m to €4.2m. Cost of sales increased from €38.27m to €44.7m with administrative expenses decreasing from €15.4m to €15.3m.

The profit last year takes account of non-cash depreciation and amortisation costs of €2.99m.

The figures show that the numbers employed by the firm last year increased from 594 to 665, with 601 engaged in sales and operation, and 54 in management and administration.

Staff costs last year increased by 18.6%, from €24.3m to €28.85m. The firm’s spend on leasing property remained static at €2.4m.

Remuneration for the firm’s directors decreased from €233,052 to €204,140.

A breakdown of the firm’s revenues show that €61.76m was generated from the NCT, with €2.2m from the VRT Import Conformance Inspection and €302,988 from ancillary revenues.

The firm’s retained earnings at the end of December last stood at €3.7m.


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