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HR Owen eyes high-end expansion

HR Owen is considering expansion of its network of premium car brand franchises following a promising start to 2007.

At the plc’s AGM, chairman John MacArthur said the group was doing well since the completion of its restructuring programme, which involved selling many of its non-premium franchise sites to focus on the high-end market.

“I am pleased to report that we have achieved excellent results for the first four months, and will now consider good opportunities with our core business partners to add additional specialist franchised outlets to the group’s portfolio,” he said.

Chief executive Nick Lancaster told AM: “Our strategy is to develop further with the core brands and work with the franchises we already have.

“We’re looking at top end opportunities, and this could see us develop away from London if we think it makes sense to do so.

“Our business is in a very good state of health; we’re doing well on the trade side and have very little debt, which leaves cash resources for other options.”

Lancaster said the group was interested in acquiring sites such as the Maranello Ferrari and Maserati dealerships offered for sale by Inchcape, but refused to comment on whether it was already in talks.

Now in its 75th year, HR Owen sells Alfa Romeo, Bentley, BMW/Mini, Bugatti, Ferrari, Lambor-ghini, Maserati, Rolls-Royce and Volvo cars at its 10 sites in the London area and single Manchester-based dealership.

Group finance director David Jaggar retired at the end of April having returned almost £12m capital to shareholders.

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