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Denny looks to UK for top managers

The owner of the biggest car dealership group in Eastern Europe is in London looking for investors to support a flotation and for senior managers from Britain’s car retail industry to help with the group’s dramatic growth.

Australian Anthony Denny has been told by his financial advisers that he can expect full take-up of his share offering and that, despite the wave of panic in equity markets, a value for his company of more than £100m (€143m).

Shares will be listed on the Czech stock exchange in Prague, which is where the company is headquartered and where the new hirings are most likely to be based.

Denny was brought up in Czechoslovakia but left for Australia in 1985 when he was 23. Though he made his first money out of day-trading gold shares, he always remembered his teenage purchase of a car which he was able to use for a period and still sell at a profit.

In the space of 15 years he has built a business of 38 outlets and 3,000 staff turning over 62,000 cars a year, worth £236m (€338). Just under half are in Czechoslovakia, the rest in Slovakia, Romania, Hungary and Poland. In Czechoslovakia, he has 23% of the used car market.

The plan is to grow to 50 outlets across the region by next year. He plans to open in two new countries annually. His next targets are Russia and the Ukraine.

Denny already has a number of British nationals on the strength. His group service and bodyshop director is Andy Dean, who worked in a bodyshop role with Ford in both the UK and Saudi. Martin Emes, who previously set up approved used schemes for VW in the UK, is the stock and pricing director.

Denny said: “We need about 30 operations guys, country managers, buyers, service managers and stock controllers. We would love them all to be British because the Czechs like them and English is the company business language.

“We have reached the point where we must have serious professionals. We can’t meet all our needs from the local populations any more.”

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