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Advantage buys Ilkeston outlet

Ilkeston Co-op has sold its multi-franchised dealership in Lincoln to the newly-created Advantage Motor Group.

Advantage will take on the Citroën, Mazda and Seat franchises but is discarding Fiat, Hyundai and Alfa Romeo. However, it will continue to provide servicing for these brands.

“We sold the dealership because we wanted to get out of the motor industry,” says Tony Teatum, chief executive of Ilkeston Co-op (see AM September 8).

“We’ve now only got two Peugeot franchises left, in Grantham and Alfreton.”

The Lincoln site employs more than 90 staff but Graham Pay, director of Advantage Motor Group, says: “With our restructuring we are initially going to lose about six people. But we are keen to build up the business and create future employment.”

The sale of the Lincoln dealership went ahead just days before the board of Ilkeston Co-op had its confirmatory meeting to finalize merger plans with Midlands Co-op. The pair will now become one group on November 5, adding Ilkeston’s two Peugeot outlets to Midlands’ Suzuki dealership, five car care/MoT centres and two bodyshops.

At this point Teatum and Ilkeston’s financial director Nick Burgess will leave. Teatum will retire and Burgess has “no specific plans”.

Taking on the top-job at the as yet untitled merged group will be John Fitzgerald, current chief executive of Midlands Co-op. It’s thought that the outlets will retain their current trading names. Ilkeston Co-op has been selling dealerships over the last two years, starting in August 2004 when it sold seven sites to Sunwin Motor Group, reducing its turnover to £40m.

A too-ambitious growth plan in the early part of the decade had left it with soaring borrowing costs. This was compounded by the discovery of financial irregularities in 2002, which led to the dismissal of its financial director.

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