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Whitehouse sells BMW outlets

Stephen James Group has boosted its turnover by £90m to £150m with the purchase of Whitehouse Group’s three BMW and two Mini dealerships.

The acquisition was funded by BMW Financial Services and NatWest Bank for an undisclosed price.

Before the deal, Stephen James had BMW and Mini at Enfield, north London. It has now added BMW at Blackheath and BMW/Mini at Bromley and Ruxley Corner (all in south-east Greater London).

Stephen James express-ed an interest in the freehold sites to BMW UK after Brian Whitehouse, chairman and major shareholder of the family business, died a year ago. Relatives have decided to sell most of the dealerships.

BMW UK made Stephen James its 2004 dealer of the year and has short-listed the group for its bodyshop of the year award to be announced next month.

Ben Collins, Stephen James managing director, says: “The acquisition provides a tremendous platform for development.”

Collins, a 28-year-old Cambridge graduate, is the son of group chairman Duncan Collins, who established the company in 1970, retaining the signage of the previous occupier of the site.

Collins, a Christian, does not open his business on Sundays and the acquired dealerships will also trade for only six days a week.

Ben Collins expects the new dealerships to sell 2,500 new BMWs and 1,000 new Minis this year, plus about 1,000 used cars.

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