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Vertu buys Grantham Motor Company

Vertu Motors has acquired four Honda car dealerships and one Honda motorcycle dealership in the East Midlands, through the purchase of the entire share capital of Grantham Motor Company Limited for £4.6m in cash.

Completion took place on June 28. The acquisitions will be funded through the group’s existing debt facility with Barclays.

The acquisition of the Honda dealerships in Grantham, Lincoln, Boston and Retford is Vertu’s first introduction to the Honda franchise and, it says, is an "excellent geographical fit with the existing Vertu Motors businesses in the East Midlands".

The acquisition includes two freeholds, one long leasehold and one leasehold property. The net asset value at the end of 2006 was £1.4m, which included £1.6m of property assets. In the year to December 31, 2006, the businesses made £0.8m of profit before taxation with turnover of £50 million.

This acquisition brings the total number of dealerships operated by the group to 45. Vertu Motors plc is now the tenth largest motor retailer in the United Kingdom by turnover.

Robert Forrester, CEO of Vertu Motors said: “We are pleased to have announced our third acquisition since we listed on AIM in December 2006, as we continue to consolidate the highly fragmented UK motor retail market.

“We are excited to have five Honda dealerships to start our relationship with Honda, who we regard as a key strategic partner going forward. I look forward to working with these businesses and welcoming all our new colleagues into the group.”

Ewan Ramsay, general manager of cars at Honda UK, said: "The expansion of Vertu Motors – with its financial strength, combined experience and driving ambition is great news for Honda’s dealership network in the UK.

"Vertu’s long term plans towards consistent, sustained growth and a total focus on the customer experience fall completely in line with our own plans for the Honda franchise. We firmly believe that the Vertu team will help these key dealer operations maximise their full potential."

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