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Inchcape stands firm against break-up call

Inchcape yesterday defeated calls from its largest stakeholder for the group to be broken up.

Guinness Peat called in February for its break-up and the return of £90m to shareholders, fearing a poor financial performance in 2000. It has recently reduced its shareholding from 15.99% to 10.5% (a holding of 8.5m shares).

But at the annual meeting yesterday shareholders rejected the demand by an 81.5% majority, in support of Inchcape's board of management.

Sir John Egan said: “In the UK our retail business has benefited from a return of consumer confidence resulting in a significant uplift in private retail sales. Our leasing business is benefiting from the stabilisation of three year old used car prices this year. Overall we expect our UK results to rebound.”

He said this year's results were expected to be “significantly above” last year's.

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