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Inchcape buys Bates Motor Group

Inchcape plc, has today announced it has acquired Bates Motor Group Ltd for £22.3m.

The group topped the first Automotive Management listing of the top 20 motor retailers in terms of return on shareholders' funds, published in November, 2000. It achieved a 121% return compared to its nearest competitor MSF Motor Group with 90%. Bates was listed that month No56 in the AM100 with a turnover of £109m.

The value of the net assets acquired on completion of the deal is estimated to be £6.7m, including some £3.4m of debt.

Net operating profits for this private group in 2000 were £1.9m. These results do not reflect the full year benefit of BMW, Ilford, purchased during 2000. In addition the Bates Motor Group Ltd acquired Audi/Volkswagen, Southend, during 2001.

Bates Motor Group is one of the largest BMW and Audi specialist retailers in the UK and comprises 10 motor dealerships. Of these there are four BMW dealerships and three Audi dealerships located in London and Essex. These dealerships significantly increase Inchcape's representation with these manufacturers and, with their agreement, Inchcape says it will "continue to explore expansion opportunities".

Inchcape does, however, plan to sell Bates' three Volkswagen Inchcape already represents Volkswagen in five territories, two of which were awarded recently.

Peter Johnson, Inchcape group chief executive, said: “Bates Motor Group has achieved many motor industry accolades and is widely regarded as one of the premier dealership groups in the UK. This acquisition in the specialist car sector strengthens our relationship with two of our key OEM partners and is a significant step in our declared aim of achieving scale relationships with them.”

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