The £13m deal, for a 67% shareholding, is the latest move in Inchcape’s strategy to expand into emerging markets, such as the Baltic states.
UAB Vitvela is Inchcape’s third-party Mazda retailer in Lithuania. Its main business is based in the capital, Vilnius, with additional dealerships in the regional cities of Kaunas and Klaipeda. It also represents Ford, Hyundai and Mitsubishi. Following completion of the transaction, Inchcape will have an integrated distribution and retail business for Mazda, Ford and Mitsubishi in Lithuania and also have a leading share of Hyundai retail in the country.
The total automotive market in Lithuania grew 37% in 2006 to over 18,000 units. The brands had a combined market share of 18.5% in 2006.
André Lacroix, group chief executive of Inchcape, says: “The Lithuanian market is rapidly increasing in size and this is an appropriate time for us to enter this new market to achieve scale advantages with a respected partner. This acquisition gives us close to 20% market share of the total car market in Lithuania”
Linas Peciukevicius, new country manager for Inchcape Lithuania, says: “We are excited by this excellent opportunity to build a partnership with a strong international group. The joint venture will further strengthen our position in the Lithuanian market and help us to grow across the country alongside the world’s leading automotive retailer.”