Auto dealer Lookers expects profit to slump; top executives leave

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(Reuters) - British car dealership Lookers on Friday issued its second profit warning in less than four months and announced the departure of its two top executives.

The company expects annual underlying profit to fall by more than two-thirds as the UK car market struggles with dwindling consumer confidence and margin pressures.

Lookers said Chairman Phil White will become executive chairman as Chief Executive Andy Bruce and operations chief Nigel McMinn would leave the company immediately.

Lookers, which warned in July that profit would be below market expectations, said challenges have been worse than expected since mid-September.

The British car industry has been hit by lower vehicle sales amid uncertainty caused by stricter emissions regulations, Britain's impending exit from the European Union and a shift towards sales of electric or hybrid cars.

It now expects underlying profit before tax for the full year to be 20 million pounds ($25.91 million).

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Lookers, which sells vehicles for multiple automakers including Volkswagen , Ford and Germany's BMW , reported adjusted pre-tax profit of 67.3 million pounds in 2018.

The company, which had disclosed a regulatory probe and the exit of its finance chief earlier this year, said it would shut 15 dealerships and take a one-off hit of 8 million pounds.

(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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