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Inchcape looks to Latvia

Inchcape has raised £24m in three months from sales of non-core UK businesses, but has not set a timescale for disposal of the remaining 44 surplus dealerships.

All the businesses are operating effectively so there is no pressure to sell quickly, said group communications director Ken Lee. He added: “These are excellent businesses and will only be sold at the agreed time and price.”

The company is happy for the dealerships to be sold piecemeal or in one deal, said Lee, although a single buyer would make the sale more efficient. Its trading brands HA Fox and Hunters are likely to be included in the sale.

Inchcape announced in May it wanted to sell 47 dealerships including all its Ford, Land Rover, Jaguar, Volvo, Vauxhall, Ferrari, Kia and Renault.

Its three Bentley dealerships have since been sold to Henley Motor Holdings, founded by former EMH chief executive Richard Palmer, and JCT600. It also sold its vehicle logistics division, Inchcape Automotive, to Camden Ventures.

It aims to focus on fewer key brands in the UK, and increase its presence in markets such as Lithuania and Latvia, where it recently bought dealerships.

In a pre-close trading statement, prior to its interim results announcement due on August 2, the group said trading was in line with expectations, and the integration of European Motor Holdings is driving much of its 31% increase in revenue.

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