Automotive giant sells UK dealerships for £345m

Inchcape, an automotive distributor, has sold its UK dealerships for £346m to streamline its operations.

US-based Group 1 Automotive, which already operates 55 sites in the UK, will acquire its retail business, including over 80 forecourts nationwide.

The sale of the retail division, headquartered in Solihull, is expected to strengthen the group’s overall profitability.

George Ashford, Chief Executive of Inchcape UK, said: “Group 1’s acquisition of Inchcape’s UK retail operations demonstrates our business’s impressive scale, strategic footprint, and strong relationships with OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) brands. This success is due to our people, our teams, and the excellent work they have put in to building a business known for its outstanding customer service.

“Group 1 shares our vision for excellence and growth and has demonstrated its commitment to the long-term success of our business and will be a great home for our colleagues.”

Inchcape plans to allocate £100m from the sale proceeds towards share buybacks upon completion of the deal, expected in the third quarter of 2024.

Group 1 Automotive, listed on the New York Stock Exchange and with outlets in London, will gain access to sites in the northern UK through the acquisition of Inchcape’s dealerships.

Daryl Kenningham, president and chief executive officer of Group 1 Automotive, said: “We are delighted to have reached an agreement to acquire Inchcape’s UK Retail operations, which we have long admired given the company’s reputation for exceptional customer service, attractive portfolio of OEM brand partners and high-quality management team.

“With our considerable automotive retail experience in the United States and the UK, we look forward to building on Inchcape’s strong industry relationships and leveraging our expertise to support our combined operations in their next phase of growth.”

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