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Extended: New ‘substantial’ dealer group

Former Hartwell group operations director Mark Lavery has become chief executive of a new venture that has ambitions to become a “substantial” dealer group.

Cambria Automotive Holdings has the financial backing of Promethean Investments and last month completed its first acquisition, Swindon Automobiles.

It operates from two adjacent sites in Swindon, where it has full retail franchises for Jaguar, Citroën and Seat, plus authorized repair franchises for Ford, Mazda and Saab.

Promethean, which has a 50% stake, says it expects to invest up to £10m more into the venture for other bolt-on acquisitions, on top of the £2.6m already pumped in for the Swindon purchase.

Cambria’s management has also invested to acquire the group’s remaining 50% share capital. Swindon Automobiles’ 2005 accounts show a loss of £0.14m from £7.65m turnover. Lavery expects to turn it back into profit quickly.

He adds: “I am delighted to have got Cambria established, acquiring a business with a very significant opportunity for operational improvement which I expect to be able to realize in the near term.”

Sebastian McKinlay of Promethean Investments and now a director of Cambria, says the business will capitalize on opportunities to build through acquiring single site dealerships and small dealer groups.

“These smaller businesses have greater opportunities for revenue and margin improvement by introducing best practice automotive retailing practices,” he adds. Promethean expects “ a significant return “ on its investment.

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