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Inchcape continues to grow in Russia

Inchcape has purchased the remaining 24.9% stake in its Russian business from its joint venture with Olimp Group, for a total of £27.7 million.

Andre Lacroix, group chief executive of Inchcape, said: “This acquisition is directly linked in line with our strategy of building scale in Russia.

“The foreign car market grew by 64% in 2007 and we now have 100% ownership of one of the largest automotive retail businesses in St Petersburg.”

Lacroix said the company would be progressing with the expansion of its Russian business, including the development of two new sites in St Petersburg for Toyota and Lexus.

Inchcape’s share price went up 16p after the acquisition was announced to the London stock market.

Inchcape first entered St Petersburg in 2006 with its acquisition of 75.1% of Olimp Group’s Toyota/Lexus business for £34.5m. Inchcape acquired a share in OOO Orgtekhstroy on October 4, 2007, an Audi dealer in St Petersburg. It then bought a Peugeot dealership in the Russian city for £19.1m from the Olimp. Inchcape’s combined Russian businesses sold 8,850 new cars in 2007.

Inchcape also announced today that it has appointed Graham Pimlott to its board as a non-executive director.

Pimlott was, until December 2005, deputy chairman of Hammerson, the European real estate company.

Pimlott qualified as a solicitor in 1976 with international law firm Lovell White Durrant, becoming a Partner in 1981.

Peter Johnson, Inchcape chairman, said: "We are delighted that Pimlott has agreed to join the Board as a non-executive Director. He has significant experience working with some of the UK's leading public companies including Tesco and Hammerson."

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