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Pendragon exits Germany after 15 years

The UK’s largest motor retailer, Pendragon, has exited Germany 15 years since establishing a foothold in the country.

The Nottingham-based company had been reducing its business there for the past two years and last week signed over its five Land Rover, Jaguar and Aston Martin dealerships near Frankfurt and Munich to Swiss-based Emil Frey Group in a £6m sale.

Pendragon said it will provide full details in its interim financial statement on August 7. Chief executive Trevor Finn was unavailable for comment before AM went to press.

Pendragon’s operation in Germany, trading as Avalon, had made a £300,000 operating loss in 2006 from less than £50m turnover. That followed a £1.8m loss in 2005 and £2.1m loss in 2004.

Pendragon launched into Germany with Jaguar and Land Rover in 1992, and added two sites bought from Auto Konig in 2000 and one from SGZ in 2001. At its peak, the operation totalled six sites with 12 franchises.

Emil Frey Group has motor wholesale, retail and finance businesses in Germany, France, Switzerland, Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary.

The Sunday Times reported last weekend that Pendragon has signed a £400m sale and leaseback joint venture with property fund Aaim, and could realise £300m in cash in order to cut group debts.

The move, which involves 115 properties, followed Pendragon’s third profits warning since November.

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