AYRSHIRE-based car dealer Bridgend Holdings saw pre-tax profit fall 36.2% to £355,000 in its last financial year as it battled with tough economic conditions.

Bridgend, which claims to be Scotland's largest independent used car retailer, saw turnover drop 8% to £13.6 million for the year to March 31, 2012, according to accounts.

The directors of the company, which also undertakes repairs, said in their report: "The results for the group reflect continued positive performance in a very difficult economic environment and the directors are again pleased with the results.

Loading article content

"The measures taken [by] the directors to sustain the group during the recession with careful management and strategic buying have resulted in steady profitability, albeit reduced somewhat on the previous year."

Employee numbers rose from a monthly average of 109 in 2011 to 119 in the most recent financial year. Bridgend, which has outlets in Ayr, Kilwinning and Irvine, remains debt free.

The directors added: "The group continues to have a strong financial position as the carefully considered growth, without the need to resort to external funding of any significance, leaves the group well positioned to adjust to economic conditions as they arrive."

The family-owned company has been operating in Ayrshire since 1930 with its roots in a haulage firm founded in 1930 by Hugh McLaughlan, father of current directors Daniel and Alexander. The first Bridgend garage opened in Kilwinning in 1950.