“Our major shareholders were against the move, and I believe we are better off as a listed company,” says the company’s chief executive and major shareholder.
“I have told the board that I reserve the right to reconsider returning the group to private ownership should someone else make an offer. At the moment, no one has indicated an interest.”
Lancaster has spent more than a year disposing of dealerships representing non-specialist brands because of the high costs associated with motor retailing in London and the south-east. “We are making HR Owen profitable again, have cash reserves and little debt, whereas previously we had substantial borrowings.”
Lancaster’s franchises include Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Porsche, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Ferrari and Maserati. “All these manufacturers have said they will widen their ranges over the next five or so years,” he says.
“They are likely to want dealers with experience in specialists brands, and there could be opportunities for us to grow with additional dealerships, either in the United Kingdom or in other countries.
“With this potential for growth, I think HR Owen is better placed as a quoted company.”