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Lookers crosses the border

Lookers has acquired the Taggarts multi-franchise motor retailer in Scotland for £5m cash and the issue of £0.6m Lookers shares. It is the Manchester-based dealer group's first foray into Scotland.

Taggarts has two Jaguar franchises covering the Glasgow market areas as well as Jaguar and Land Rover operations in Motherwell. With MG Rover, Mazda and LDV franchises in Motherwell, the business also has separate parts and bodyshop operations.

The purchase is in line with the Lookers strategy of regional expansion through targeted acquisition of high quality dealerships with strong local markets and will make the group the largest Jaguar and Land Rover retailer in Ford's Premier Automotive Group northern region.

Ken Surgenor, Lookers chief executive says: "This is a significant expansion of Lookers and a very valuable addition to our business. Quite apart from being our first acquisition in Scotland, where we believe there are further opportunities for development, it enhances our position as a major retailer for Ford's Premier Automotive Group – one of our key manufacturer partners.

"Taggarts is a highly regarded retailer in the Scottish market and the company shares many of the core values of Lookers. The company was founded in 1896, incorporated in 1919 and its directors have had a close relationship with Lookers for many years. We believe there are significant opportunities to grow the business."

To ensure a smooth transition of the business Lookers has retained the services of the two executive directors of Taggarts, Joe Nimmo and George Ross, who will work alongside fellow Scot Andy Bruce, Lookers operations director.

At 31st December 2001, the date of the last audited accounts, Taggarts had net assets of £2.6 million and made an operating profit of £1.5m on turnover of £52.2m.

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