Lord Bob Edmiston’s IM Group is still counting the cost of the Japanese tsunami in its vehicle import arm – but says it will be offset by rising property profits.

The Coleshill-based firm, established by the millionaire philanthropist in 1974, saw automotive sales rise by 26.5 per cent in 2010 but has been impacted by supply problems from Japan this year.

Accounts posted on Companies House show its turnover rose by 14.2 per cent, to £401.6 million, in the year to December 31, 2010.

Its after-tax profits fell from £23.2 million in 2009 to £16.5 million because of a sharp rise in charitable donations, including almost £10 million to Lord Edmiston’s charity Christian Vision.

In its directors’ report, the firm said it expected an improved performance in the property arm to outweigh the supply problems in the automotive division, which imports Japanese vehicles from the likes of Subaru and Isuzu.

It said: “The tsunami in Japan has created supply difficulties across the motor business in 2011 but the group expect supplies to return to normal levels in 2012.

“Although the supply difficulties will restrict the profits earned in the automotive sector in 2011 any reduction will be more than offset by additional profits earned in the property division.”

Referring to last year’s results, the directors added: “The group is in a healthy financial position with net assets of £411.6 million and is seeking to expand its activities through acquisition.

“The directors consider it important for the group to retail its cash and short-term resources to finance such opportunities when they arise.

“The directors are satisfied with the performance of the group during the year.

“In the automotive sector, the group has been able to take advantage of an increased appetite in the market for new car purchases, which has improved comparable to the previous year.

“This has resulted in a significant increase in sales volumes across the main trading franchises.”

IM Group, which employs 538 people, saw the value of its investment portfolio stand at £550.6 million as of December 31, compared to £504.5 million the year before.

Lord Edmiston, whose £380 million fortune puts him 15th on the Birmingham Post Rich List, is a former finance director at the failed Jensen Motors, and used his £6,000 redundancy pay to set up International Motors in 1974.

The company went on to profit from being the world’s only distributor for Jensen parts before acquiring the franchises for Subaru and Isuzu cars.

And he has publicly stated that he aims to give at least £300 million to charity before he dies.

The firm’s charitable donations increased from £15,000 in 2009 to £10.3 million last year after the major donation to Christian Vision.

The charity was founded 1998 based on biblical principles and has helped families and children in places like Chile, Zambia, Mozambique, Australia, East Timor and the US, among others.

The group is also a regular donor to the Conservative Party, and handed over £100,000 last year, down from £430,000 in 2009.

Meanwhile, automotive sales increased by 26.5 per cent, to £355.5 million, last year, with pre-tax profits rising by 10.4 per cent, to £19.8 million.

Revenue from the property division fell 6.4 per cent, to £40.9 million, with profits down 57 per cent to £14.6 million, and sales in the finance arm were down 6.8 per cent, to £25.1 million, but profits rose from £683,000 in 2009 to more than £5.5 million.