UK-based global auto importer, distributor and dealer group Inchcape said it improved earnings per share by 11% in the year to 31 December, 2011 though sales slipped 1% to GBP5.8bn.

Chairman Ken Hanna said this was due to “temporary supply constraints” after the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan which affected the Subaru business in Australasia and Toyota/Lexus operations in Europe and Asia, “combined with the challenging market conditions in Greece and the UK”.

“Our swift and decisive actions to strengthen and protect the business in response to the global downturn since the last quarter of 2008 have significantly reduced our cost base. In the fourth quarter of 2011 we announced further productivity initiatives to offset the impact of inflation on our global cost base in 2012. The group remains focused on tight cost control throughout its operations,” Hanna said.

Profit before tax and exceptional items rose 6.4% to GBP227.7m and adjusted earnings per share rose 10.9% to 35.5p.