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Sytner buys Ryland sites

Ryland group has sold a large chunk of its motor retail operations in a move that will push Sytner Group into second place in the AM100.

Birmingham-based Ryland, headed by chief executive Peter Whale, has restructured as a new group named Rybrook Holdings, representing Honda, Jaguar and Volvo.

Industry observers anticipate its turnover to be around a third of the previous business’s £510m, which gave it 16th place in the AM100 ranking of the UK’s largest motor retailers.

Nevertheless, Whale claims Rybrook Holdings will be on a more stable footing. “The sale of a number of dealerships to Sytner Group will provide the new company with a secure financial base from which to go forward,” he says.

AM understands one reason was to reduce the business’s gearing. This had risen considerably when Whale took the family-founded business private in 2003, after nine years as a plc. He then refocused it on premium and luxury brands.

“I guess Sytner offered a good price for what it wanted, but I’m not sure what the point in hanging on to Jaguar, Volvo and Honda is,” says one motor retail analyst. “It depends on what the succession plan is.”

The businesses sold to Sytner comprise of Mercedes-Benz and Smart outlets in Carlisle, Newcastle, Stockton on Tees and Sunderland; BMW and Mini outlets in Cardiff, Newport, central Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield and Warley; and Chrysler Jeep and Dodge outlets in Newcastle and Stockton-on-Tees.

These push Sytner’s turnover up from £1.78bn to nearly £2bn, sending it past Inchcape Retail into the second spot in the AM100. Sytner’s representation with Mercedes-Benz now totals 15 dealerships, and 17 outlets with BMW. Its Chrysler Jeep and Dodge representation increases to eight sites.

Gerard Nieuwenhuys, Sytner Group managing director, says the acquired businesses are strong performers and most will continue to trade under their established brands.

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