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Perrys gets proactive in search for purchases

Perrys Group has appointed a consultancy to search out dealer groups that could be potential acquisition targets.

But it echoes the views of Bristol Street group chief executive Paul Williams who told AM in May that dealers looking to sell sites were asking unrealistic prices.

Ray Sommerville, Perrys managing director, says: “Some groups are paying over the odds for acquisitions and it is increasing expectations for everyone else.”

Perrys is looking for businesses with market area scale or standalone outlets if they are close enough to one of its existing dealerships to allow shared back office functions.

It claims there are several manufacturers looking for partners offering scale and the ability to raise funds, but which aren’t prey to the consolidator groups.

“We are actively looking for businesses to buy and we are starting to target people rather than sitting back and waiting for calls,” says Perrys chairman Ken Savage. “But we want to buy for the right reasons and that’s to improve the business, rather than to satisfy shareholders.”

Specialist franchises like BMW and Mercedes-Benz are possible targets as is growth with Perrys’ existing premium partners Jaguar and Land Rover. “There are lots of opportunities on the market especially from small groups that are under pressure from manufacturers to make investment in their businesses, or have made that investment and can’t make the returns,” says Savage.

Perrys will this year expand its call centre operation, which opened in Nelson, Lancashire, last September to boost aftersales retention. By the end of the year it will be responsible for all incoming and outgoing service calls. Perrys is also likely to add car sales to the call centre’s responsibilities.

“We have the capacity to expand,” says Savage. “The call centre has increased our aftersales sell up because people there have more time to talk to people than they do in reception.

“The key to its success is our aftersales director Martin Kerry – you need someone who is totally committed to making it happen.”

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